Two women died of hypothermia during a rescue operation over the weekend, which saved the lives of over 730 refugees, according to the humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), on Sunday.
The bodies of the two women were discovered in the Mediterranean Sea during the rescue mission which began after a larger dinghy capsized.
In a post on Twitter, MSF said, “Devastatingly…, two women died of hypothermia despite huge efforts from the Aquarius team. We are heartbroken, again.”
The rescue operations over the weekend saved refugees from a total of 10 vessels, five of which were large dinghies and the other five were smaller boats.
Some of the refugees that were rescued over the weekend were families with children who recently fled Aleppo, Syria.
After being rescued,l the refugees were then taken to Italy.
So far this year, 171,000 refugees have arrived in Italy breaking the previous record of 170,000 refugees arriving in Italy in 2014.
Close to 4,690 refugees died on the journey across the Mediterranean or went missing this year alone, which is more than last year by at least 1,000, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration.
The drastic increase in the number of refugees arriving to Italy has put a great amount of pressure on the country’s asylum centres.
Over 176,000 refugees are now living in these centres across Italy.
Most refugees in Italy are originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, said the Italian interior ministry. 36,000 are from Nigeria, 20,000 from Eritrea and 12,000 are from Guinea.
Some reports suggest that most refugees plan to make their way to Germany and Sweden, which are considered to be the popular destinations for refugees.
Some of the organizations that have been involved in rescue missions on the Mediterranean include MOAS, MSF, Save the Children, the Libyan coast guard and naval and the coast guard vessels of other European countries.