(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
217 bodies were found by the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea after a boat carrying migrants capsized near Libya’s shores April 18 of last year. The European Union ramped up its rescue efforts after the tragic loss of so many lives.
Last week the sunken ship was finally raised from the bottom of the sea and the Italian authorities have been working to recover the bodies of the refugees to identify them and put them to rest. The boat was taken to a storage facility in Sicily, Italy.
So far the Italian navy has preformed 52 autopsies on the 217 that have been recovered.
Survivors estimate that the boat was carrying around 700-800 people. Experts are calling it the worst and most tragic case of sunken migrant boats in the Mediterranean Sea.
Most of the migrants on board the boat were held captives in the lower decks.
The tragic loss of life led to outrage in Europe resulting in an increase in efforts to rescue refugees making their way from Libya to Europe.
Thousands and thousands survive the horrendous trip across the Mediterranean, often enduring inhumane conditions and abuse. However thousands more lose their lives on the journey.
In one week during May there was over 700 lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea.
Italy promised to be committed to recovering the bodies of the refugees lost in the April 18th tragedy. Italy says it is willing to work with other European Union members to build a network of information about migrants that will potentially speed up the process of identifying bodies.
Refugees flee their homelands torn by destruction, corruption and violence to Europe seeking safety and a dignified life.
The humanitarian organizations rescuing refugees on the Mediterranean usually rely on the witness accounts of the survivors to guide their investigations. The information the humanitarian organizations collect allow them to put together pieces of information that hopefully will give them a better understanding of the reality for migrants crossing the Mediterranean.