Around 40 migrants died early Sunday when their boat capsized off the coast of the town of Crotone in the southern Italian region of Calabria, Agence France-Presse reported, citing local media.
On the other hand, the Italian agency ANSA reported that the death toll had reached thirty, with search operations still continuing but high tides hampering the work of relief teams.
Reuters quoted the news agency “Adnkronos” as saying that there were more than 100 people on the boat carrying the migrants and about 50 people were rescued.
The boat, carrying migrants from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, hit rocks before sinking in rough seas, Adnkronos reported.
And the “AGI” agency said the overloaded boat was split in two by the waves, citing a member of the relief teams involved in the rescue operations, who said among the victims was a “few-month-old baby”.
The disaster came days after the Italian parliament approved new rules for rescue operations in the Mediterranean, pushed by the far-right-dominated government.
The new law aims to reduce the number of people taken to ports by requiring NGOs to carry out a rescue operation during a sea voyage.
Critics of the law say it increases the risk of death in the Mediterranean, considered the world’s most dangerous crossing for migrants.
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