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October 28, 2020
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Migrant boat capsizes off Italy island – 150 missing

A search was under way on Wed­nesday afternoon for 150 mi­grants was missing in the Medi­terranean after their boat capsized in rough seas off the Italian isle of Lampedusa. Italian rescue vessels and a helicopter saved 48 refugees from the boat, which had been carrying about 200 people. The boat was found some 70km (40 miles) from Lam­pedusa, which has struggled to cope with thousands of mi­grants from Tunisia this year. Rescuers have spotted 15 bodies at the scene. Three Coast Guard vessels are involved in the search, along with two planes and a helicopter.

Italy and Tunisia agreed measures on Tuesday to stop large numbers of illegal immigrants arriving on Lampedusa from Tunisia, which has been in turmoil since a revolution in Ja­nuary.  Italy says it will give six-month residency papers to some 20,000 migrants already in Italy, but new arrivals will be deported. Italy has moved many migrants from Lampedusa to the mainland, because the migrants on the island outnumbered locals and overwhelmed the holding facility there. Unhygienic conditions, with dozens of migrants sleeping rough outdoors, created a health risk.

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