The numbers say it all: more than 10,000 people have been rescued in the last 48 hours while trying to reach Europe from Libya, according to Italy’s coastguard.
About 6,055 refugees were rescued on Monday (Oct. 3) and more than 4,650 others by Tuesday, in an operation coordinated by Italian authorities. The coastguard said the people were rescued from 33 boats, including 27 rubber dinghies, according to Al Jazeera English. A total of 28 bodies were also recovered during the rescue missions.
The massive exodus underpins the enormity of the refugee crisis, and of smugglers trying to take advantage of calm weather after days of choppy waters. Italian and Irish navy ships alongside humanitarian organizations took part in receiving and attending to the refugees, many of whom were in critical conditions.
More than 132,000 refugees have arrived in Italy since the beginning of 2016, in contrast to the 153,842 who came in 2015, according to the International Organization for Migration. The majority of these refugees come from African countries with the most number of people coming from Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Gambia.
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