The Save the Children charity says some 60 children are among the more than 400 Eritrean and Syrian migrants who arrived in Sicily's Messina after being rescued at sea. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: As the Italian navy brought over 600 migrants to safety to a port in Reggio Calabria on Saturday (May 16), across the strait in Sicily's Messina another vessel arrived carrying some 406 migrants rescued at sea earlier in the week. The majority of the migrants were of Eritrean origin and the group also included some Syrian citizens, including around 130 women and 60 children, officials in port said. Save the Children spokesperson Natasha Dos Santos said the onus was on ensuring that families would not be broken up when the migrants are sent to reception centres across Italy and Sicily. "Today in Messina, there were about 400 people on board, primarily from Eritrea, there were a few Syrians, a lot of families, actually. And... There were about 60 children, we don't know yet how many were unaccompanied but a lot of very, very small children between the ages of two and four. So, Save the Children is working to speak with all of these children and to do some of activities with them when they arrive so that they understand where it is that they are arriving in Italy, some of them are learning this for the very first time. But really, it's very important for us to make sure that these families are able to stay together, that children can stay with their families," she said. With Libya engulfed in strife, people smugglers are increasingly free to pack migrants and refugees onto unsafe boats and they are expected to push total arrivals in Italy for 2015 to 200,000, an increase of 30,000 on last year, according to an Interior Ministry projection. The surge in rescues this week comes as sea conditions improved and just a day after the European Union announced a plan to distribute asylum-seekers more fairly around its member states and take in 20,000 more refugees.