Saturday| May 13, 2017
Four years ago, 268 Syrian refugees including 60 children lost their lives in a shipwreck about 60 miles south of Lampedusa, a small Italian island. This was considered one of the worst tragedies of the European refugee crisis, A leaked audiotape revealed that Italian authorities let the Syrian Refugees drown despite being alerted several hours earlier that the refugees’ ship was in danger.
On Oct. 10, 2013, a ship carrying at least 480 people left Zuwarah, in northwestern Libya, headed for Lampedusa. Most of the passengers were Syrians who had left their country for Libya when conflict erupted at home in 2011, and were then forced to flee Libya when fighting broke out there as well.
Their ship sailed until 5 p.m. the next day, when it capsized 61 nautical miles south of Lampedusa. While some of the passengers were rescued by Italian and Maltese ships, the majority died before rescuers arrived. The incident caused a media uproar that contributed to the creation of “Mare Nostrum,” the now-defunct Italian navy search-and-rescue operation (that program was replaced in late 2014 by a smaller-scale E.U. program called “Triton”).
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