Italy’s Migrant Problem Continues to Escalate as 30 Found Dead in Migrant Boat

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 30 2014 6:56 PM

Italy’s Migrant Problem Continues to Escalate as 30 Found Dead in Migrant Boat

109819856-boat-full-of-would-be-immigrants-arrives-at-the-italian
A boat full of immigrants arrives at the Italian island of Lampedusa in March 2011.

Photo by ROBERTO SALOMONE/AFP/Getty Images

The Italian Navy announced on Monday that it has discovered about 30 bodies in a migrant fishing boat during a rescue mission off the coast of Sicily; the deceased, who were packed below deck and appeared to have been asphyxiated or drowned, are just a few of the many thousands who, in recent years, have risked their lives to try to reach Italy by crossing from North Africa.

In the past weekend alone, "Italian authorities rescued more than 5,000 migrants in the Mediterranean, and some 60,000 people have reached Italian shores in the first six months of this year, compared with 42,000 in all of last year," the New York Times reports. The migrants, hailing from various countries in Africa and the Middle East (especially Syria), pay smugglers in North Africa (primarily in Libya) to transport them.  

Advertisement

With its asylum system already under strain, Italy has appealed to the European Union for assistance with its "biblical exodus." In 2011, a record 63,000 migrants arrived in southern Italy following the Arab Spring. And now, according to Frontex, an EU border agency, that record is likely weeks away from being broken.

After two shipwrecks in 2013 killed 350 people off the island of Lampedusa, Italy launched a migrant search-and-rescue mission called Mare Nostrum.

Irene Chidinma Nwoye is a writer and former Slate intern in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.