The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that approximately 1,000 people of various nationalities, including refugee families and unaccompanied children, had been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in recent days in operations coordinated with Frontex, the European Union border management agency, a UN spokesman told reporters here Friday.

In one operation carried out on May 12, some 500 people travelling in two fishing boats that had departed several days earlier from Egypt had been rescued off Sicily, south east of Cape Passero,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here.

“Apart from the two fishing boats that had sailed from Egypt, it was believed that there had been other smaller boats coming from Libya,” Dujarric said. “Disembarkation of these people was taking place today at four different locations in southern Italy: Catania, Palermo, Augusta and Crotone.”

UNHCR staff is providing information and assistance to the rescued persons, he added.

According to the Italian Coastguard, there are some Syrians and Iraqis among this group, as well as people from other nationalities.

UNHCR staff will be present and will be giving information and assistance to the persons rescued in the operations, which were coordinated by Frontex, UN officials noted.

So far this year, 187,920 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea, during which 1,361 have either died or been reported missing. Of those making the journey, 155,765 have reached Greece and 31,252 have reached Italy. Enditem

Source: Xinhua


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