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Migrants reach Sicilian shore after days at sea

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - 01:03

More than a hundred migrants and refugees rescued at sea arrive at a port in Sicily. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Some 138 migrants disembarked from a British ship in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo on Wednesday (September 2), with many saying they had spent days at sea. Some of the arrivals have been treated for severe dehydration. Various nationalities were on the boat believed to have left from Egypt, with many unaccompanied minors. "There were 138 people who disembarked. 62 men and 76 male minors of various nationalities: Egyptian, Sudanese, Somalian, Tunisian and a few Syrians. They were ok but they said they had spent several days at sea, in quite rough seas," said Vincenzo Morello, a doctor at the port. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday (September 1) that more than 350,000 migrants and refugees had crossed the Mediterranean in search of a better life this year and some 2,634 people had died on the way to Europe. Thousands more people are expected to arrive in the coming weeks. The EU will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss the matter in Brussels on September 14. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and economic migrants escaping poverty have been arriving in Europe, on rickety boats across the Mediterranean and over land across the Balkan peninsula. Nearly all reach the EU on its southern or eastern outskirts and then press on for the richer and more generous countries further north and west, ignoring EU rules which require them to wait for processing in the country where they first arrive. Germany, which is prepared to take by far the greatest number, has begun accepting asylum claims from Syrian refugees regardless of where they entered the EU, even though undocumented migrants are theoretically barred from travel across the bloc. That has caused confusion for its neighbours, which have alternated this week between letting them through and blocking them. Many have come overland across the Balkans through Hungary, which allowed thousands to board trains for Germany on Monday but has since called a halt to the travel, leaving migrants camped in the summer heat in central Budapest. The migration crisis has polarised and confounded the EU, which is committed to the principle of accepting refugees fleeing real danger but has no mechanism to compel its 28 member states to share out the burden of receiving them. Twenty-six European countries have eliminated border controls between them under the EU's Schengen programme, leaving no effective mechanism in place to enforce the ban on undocumented migrants travelling within the bloc. Germany says that despite its decision to accept asylum applications from Syrians who first arrive elsewhere in the EU, other states in the bloc should continue to demand migrants register and remain where they first arrive.

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Migrants reach Sicilian shore after days at sea

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 - 01:03