Many children have become orphans, and many children are among the dead and missing after the shipwreck in southern Italy.
Many children became orphans after the shipwreck in southern Italy, where more than 60 people have been found dead so far.
– said Sergio de Dato, a 12-year-old boy from Afghanistan lost his entire family, all nine of them – four brothers, his parents and some very close relatives.
He leads the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) team providing psychological assistance to survivors.
David Morabito, a diver in Calabria, tells RAI TV that he has recovered a young pair of twins from the sea.
– When you see the dead little bodies of children, it breaks the heart, he says.
– Lots of dead children, a tragedy, he adds.
Search for survivors
On Monday, the beach at Steccato di Cutro was strewn with the wreckage of the sunken wooden boat, as well as the belongings of several people on board.
Among the things told about the tragedy were a yellow plastic pencil case, decorated with panda bears, and a little pink sneakers for a child. A few life jackets were seen on the beach.
Save the Children is also helping survivors. The organization wrote in a message via Twitter that many of the missing are children.
They also wrote that the survivors said they heard a loud bang in the middle of the night as they approached the shore, at which point the boat broke up and they ended up in the sea. Many experienced seeing close family members drowning.
Several ships and helicopters of the Italian Coast Guard are still searching, and patrols are taking place in the area’s beaches as part of the search for victims. Monday morning, three dead people were found.
– Quite still
Envoys from the United Nations and Doctors Without Borders were on the beach and said many of the victims came from Afghanistan. Last year, the country ranked second on the list of the number of asylum applications in Europe, as a result of the Taliban taking power in August 2021.
Lifeguard Giuseppe LaRosa recounts the harrowing scenes that greeted them when they first arrived on the beach at Steccato di Cutro
– There were corpses scattered on the beach, and among them there were many children, he says.
Many of the dead were badly injured, LaRosa says, as if they were trying to hold on to the wreckage for as long as possible in hopes of surviving. The survivors made an equally strong impression.
– What struck me most was that they were so calm. The terror in their eyes and being silent. It was completely calm, LaRosa says.
Set sail from Turkey
Italian authorities have dismissed criticism of starting the rescue operation too late.
They say they sent two rescue boats on Saturday night after they were alerted by the European border agency Frontex, which spotted the boat 20 feet below. But they had to turn back because of the high seas, according to the authorities.
Among the dead were twelve children, including a baby who was only a few months old, according to the AGI news agency. He also lost a number of children.
The dhow is said to have been carrying between 170 and 200 people from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan when it set sail from Izmir in Turkey a few days ago. On Sunday night, the wooden boat broke up off the coast of Steccato di Cutro in Calabria, southern Italy, possibly after hitting a reef. Everyone on the ship ended up at sea.
81 people survived the drowning, and 20 of them are now hospitalized in Italy.
The search is still on for about 20 people who are believed to be missing. On Monday morning, three deaths were found, but it is hoped that more pigs will be found due to the weather.
According to Italian TV station Sky TG24, at least three people have been arrested, suspected of participating in organizing the boat trip from Izmir in Turkey.
Italy is the main destination for people smugglers, especially for the many who cross the Mediterranean from Libya, but also from Turkey.
According to United Nations figures, 105,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea last year, about 15 percent of them from Turkey. Almost half of those who came are refugees from Afghanistan.
While many previously crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece, now they are embarking on a longer and more dangerous journey south to Italy.
The Greek coast guard is accused of forcing boats to return to Turkey, and refugee camps in Greece are overcrowded. It is also very difficult for many who come to Greece to be reunited with family members who are in other European countries.
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