Mediterranean: Italy marks anniversary of Lampedusa tragedy following weekend rescues of over 1000 people

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Italy marks anniversary of Lampedusa tragedy following weekend rescues of over 1000 people
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A march was held on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Tuesday in memory of the 368 people who died following the 3 October 2013 shipwreck off the coast of the island. The events come after a weekend in which over 1000 people were rescued at sea and three people are reported to have died off the coast of Libya. A further 226 people were "intercepted" and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

See: March in memory of Lampedusa shipwreck (Il Globo, link):

"A march was held on Lampedusa on Tuesday in memory of the 368 migrants who died at sea in a shipwreck off the island's coast on October 3, 2013.

Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso and Education Minister Valeria Fedeli attended the march together with Lampedusa Mayor Totò Martello.

During the memorial, a wreath was placed at sea at the site of the shipwreck.

Grasso, Fedeli and Martello said Italy had made "a huge effort" to make sure that such disasters did not occur again."

Over 1000 people were rescued at sea over the weekend of 30 September-1 October, according to the IOM:

"IOM Rome reported on Monday (2 October) 1,002 migrants were rescued over the weekend by Italian and international ships and are in the process of being brought to Italy (those totals are not included in table above). Italy’s arrival totals for the summer months of July, August and September this year totalled 10,198 – a significant drop (see chart below) from similar three-month periods totals recorded by IOM in 2016 (61,821) and 2015 (61,742)."

Three people were reported dead off the coast of Libya on Monday, bringing the total of known deaths in the Mediterranean in 2017 so far to 2,658. The equivalent figure for last year was 3,602 deaths.

The IOM also reports that off the coast of Libya, over 200 migrants were intercepted and returned to detention facilities in Libya:

"one wooden and one rubber boat with 226 migrants (including 20 women and 4 children) were rescued/intercepted. The majority of those brought back to shore are natives of Morocco, Cameroon and Senegal. Witnesses said the boats left Subratah.

IOM’s medical team visited the migrants to assess medical needs, but reported no injuries. The migrants were transferred to Shuhada Al Nasr detention centre."

See: Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 138,232 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,658 (IOM, link)

Meanwhile, a UNHCR official has highlighted that the number of arrivals in Italy in September suggests that contrary to official arguments, NGO rescue missions are not a "pull factor" for migrants. See: UNHCR: NGOs not a 'pull factor' for migrant sea arrivals (EUobserver, link):

"Vincent Cochetel, who oversees the UNHCR's European operations, questioned the claim that NGOs are a pull factor for people leaving Libya to reach Italy. He noted while most NGO boats have left the sea rescue zones, the number of people attempting to reach Italy has almost doubled. Some 5,996 arrived in September, compared to 3,935 in August. "What was that argument of them [NGOs] being a pull factor?," he said."

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