A boat carrying more than 500 refugees sank off the coast of Libya. This is the second such occurrence in two days:
Barbara Molinario, public information officer at the UNHCR’s Italian branch, said rescue operations are complicated by the large volume of passengers on the vessels carrying refugees and migrants. “Usually nobody really knows the exact number of people on a boat like that,” she told Al Jazeera by telephone on Thursday. “We are now waiting for the survivors to come so we can talk to them. That’s going to be the only way to know there are people missing.” The Italian Coast Guard released images of a shipwreck a day earlier, in which at least five people died and hundreds — including this orphaned infant — were rescued when the boat went over off the coast of Libya. The blue fishing vessel, its deck heaving with people, tipped over on Wednesday after passengers rushed to one side on spotting a rescue ship.
With the continuing crisis in the Middle East and in the region, its understandable that crossing the sea on an over-packed boat can seem like a better option than remaining.
These people are desperate, forced to leave their homes and lives in the hope of finding something better. Pope Francis has said:
Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more
We would like to encourage you to continue your prayers for all refugees and families under such stress.