Hundreds of migrants come off three boats in Sicily as the number of people seeking refuge from Africa surges at the start of the spring months. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Some 480 migrants have arrived on Wednesday (April 15) in Sicily's Palermo, including several pregnant women bringing the number of arrivals at the port to around 1,500 in the last 24 hours alone. The expectant mothers were all said to be of Somali origin and were rescued on Tuesday (April 14). In the early hours of the morning a further 1,169 migrants also arrived. The Italian coastguard has said 1,511 migrants were saved from perilous vessels out at sea on Tuesday alone, in twelve different rescue operations. Over the last few days the number has now reached 10,000 people. Italy's regional authorities are growing more angry as the ability to house the new arrivals is becoming a severe problem. The rescue services are trying to spread the arrivals out into different areas of southern Italy but with the numbers at the levels over the last few days space will soon run out to hold the migrants. The number of boats carrying migrants aiming to reach the EU from Africa has picked up in recent weeks as fine spring weather makes the passage safer. In February, more than 300 drowned when attempting the crossing in cold weather and rough seas. Save the Children, the IOM and other humanitarian organisations have called for the European Union to bolster its sea rescue operations before the migrant flows soar as they usually do in the summer months.