In a hall on the island of Lampedusa, 13 coffins have been placed containing the corpses of immigrant women who perished when the boat they were on containing about 50 immigrants sank in rough seas in the latest Central Mediterranean tragedy.
Italian Coastguards said that 13 men and nine women were rescued while a number of other immigrants, many of them children, have not been found.
One of the rescued immigrants said he could find no words to describe the trauma they had experienced and their sorrow when they knew that two of the victims were newly-born babies and two children that had fallen overboard.
The Italian Government said that since the start of this year over 8,000 immigrants have arrived by boats, a reduction of more than 60% over last year’s arrivals during the same period.
Meanwhile, the German Government has warned the rest of Europe that a similar chaotic influx of immigrants may transpire as happened in 2015 when the European Union was caught on the wrong footing.
In a comment made before the start of a meeting of the Council of EU Internal Ministers, German Internal Affairs Minister, Horst Seehofer, said in the absence of a common EU policy on immigration, this may lead to an uncontrolled influx of immigrants throughout Europe.
The warning was made by Seehofer while Greek and Cypriot authorities are once more reporting a number of boat arrivals from Turkey which had previously reached an agreement with the EU to curb the departure of immigrants.
The meeting of Internal Ministers had to discuss a plan agreed in Malta between five Internal Affairs Ministers to create a temporary relocation system for immigrants rescued in the Central Mediterranean region.