“Spain, Italy struggle with surge in African migrants,” from the AFP:
Spain and Italy said on Wednesday they had rescued more than 2,300 African immigrants in just over 24 hours, plucking people from flimsy vessels as they made a desperate attempt to reach the shores of southern Europe.
Enticed by a spell of calm waters, the number of Africans risking their lives on dinghies has surged, officials said — many searching for refuge from war and oppression, or in the simple hope of achieving a better life.
The numbers were unprecedented. Spain’s maritime rescue services said they had picked up 920 people including 26 children from the Gibraltar Strait on Tuesday, and another 10 men trying to reach Spain on a single dinghy on Wednesday morning.
The Italian Navy said nearly 1,400 immigrants, many without life vests, had been rescued from the Mediterranean in 24 hours.
That brings the total to more than 98,000 rescued this year, said Italian senior immigration official Mario Morcone.
“These are people coming to Italy not for tourism but out of desperation. Many of them continue to lose their lives in these crossings despite our efforts,” he told Italian radio Anch’io…