Watch: A dramatic Doctors Without Borders rescue of capsized migrants in the Mediterranean

The Italian navy rescue effort.
The Italian navy rescue effort.
Image: Reuters/Darrin Zammit Lupi
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A fishing boat filled to the brim with migrants capsized off the coast of Libya yesterday (Aug. 5), in the latest tragedy in Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis. Despite the rescue efforts from the Irish navy, the Italian coast guard, and a vessel from Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF), 200 migrants, out of an estimated 600 on the boat, are feared drowned.

Here’s footage from the MSF mission:

“It was a horrific sight, people desperately clinging to lifebelts, boats, and anything they could, fighting for their lives, amidst people drowning, and those who had already died,” said Juan Matías, the coordinator for one of the organization’s search and rescue ships, in a statement. “The fact that we were first called to assist this boat and then shortly afterwards sent to another one highlights the severe lack of resources available for rescue operations.”

The migration crisis has reached epic proportions in Europe this year. More than 2,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far in 2015, and tens of thousands have reached Europe’s shores. The EU has tripled resources for search and rescue missions, but prevention efforts are lagging.

For the first time ever, immigration polls as the top problem in the European Union, according to a new survey. It added 14 percentage points as a “top concern” since the autumn of 2014.

Senior EU officials issued a statement of their own, saying that their emergency measures “have been necessary because the collective European policy on the matter in the past has fallen short.”

“Migration is not a popular or pretty topic. It is easy to cry in front of your TV-set when witnessing these tragedies,” the EU officials added. ”It is harder to stand up and take responsibility. What we need now is the collective courage to follow through with concrete action on words that will otherwise ring empty.”