Written by on February 28, 2023

Italian authorities have said that at least 63 people including women and children died after a wooden boat carrying migrants from Turkey, broke apart on rocks off the coast of Calabria on Sunday.

Amidst bad weather, authorities were seen making efforts to recover dead bodies from the Mediterranean Sea on Monday, with the weather playing a major role in hampering the recovery process.

Reports suggest that more than a dozen of the migrants were Pakistani citizens, and this has prompted the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif, to describe the incidence as deeply concerning and worrisome, and has ordered the Pakistan’s foreign Ministry to investigate.

An official from Italy’s Crotone prefecture said on Monday that at least 82 passengers survived the shipwreck. Among those on board were people from Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, according to rescuers.

The vessel left the Turkish city of Izmir three or four days before the wreck, with 140 to 150 people on board,according to reports. The first three bodies washed up on the beach near Staccato di Cutro in southern Italy around 4:40 a.m. local time Sunday.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni blamed human traffickers, He said:

It is criminal to launch a boat just 20 meters long with 200 people on board in adverse weather. It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men, women and children for the price of a ticket under the false perspective of a safe journey.

The Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi responded in a statement, saying that new measures must be instituted to reduce such perilous journeys. He said;

It is essential to continue with every possible initiative to stop departures and discourage crossings in any way which takes advantage of the illusory mirage of a better life.

In Vatican City on Sunday, in reference to the victims of the shipwreck, Pope Francis prayed for the victims:

I pray for each of them, for the missing, and for the other migrants who survived. I thank those who are helping them and those who are giving them assistance. May the Virgin Mary help these brothers and sisters

CNN Assisted In This Report

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