Almost 500 migrants saved from boats in distress in Mediterranean rescue operation – aid group

Some 471 people were rescued from boats in distress in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday amid a recent surge in migrant arrivals to Italy.

Among those rescued were 205 children as aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) assisted the Italian Coast Guard in attending to 15 vessels in the sea, the aid group said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Nearly 126,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, almost double the figure by the same date in 2022.

Lampedusa has recently borne the brunt, with thousands of landings this week, more than the island’s permanent population.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that European authorities rather than people smugglers will “decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances,” in a visit to Lampedusa as dozens of its citizens protested over a staggering rise in migrants landing on the island.