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The death toll from a migration boat that sank off the coast of Italy has risen to 62, including 14 children.

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Yesterday, Sunday, 63 migrants, including 14 children, were killed and dozens went missing off the coast of Calabria in southern Italy as a result of the crash of a ship carrying illegal immigrants.

The Italian Coast Guard said they were able to rescue 81 people, including those who managed to make it to shore after the boat sank, while 20 survivors were sent to hospitals.

The Italian Coast Guard added that most of the migrants on board the boat came from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia and Pakistan, and search operations are ongoing, noting that high waves interfere with the work of rescue teams.

The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said there were 20 people on the boat, 16 of whom were rescued and 4 were missing.

The Red Cross indicated that all survivors were adults and that all children were either on the missing or dead list, noting that one of the children who died was an infant only a few months old.

Italian officials fear the death toll could top 100 as some survivors said the boat that left Turkey was carrying 140 to 180 migrants.

For her part, Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni blamed the accident on smugglers who do not follow the safety rules of smuggling and gather hundreds of people in small boats at sea.

Meloni said: “It is inhumane to exchange the lives of men, women and children for the price of a ticket they have paid, driven by delusional hopes that they will make it safely to another country.”

In the same context, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for a redoubling of efforts to amend asylum laws and reduce the number of refugees at sea.

Source: AFP.

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