Over 300 migrants, thought to be from sub-Saharan Africa, drowned earlier this month, in an effort to reach Europe.
It is thought that three inflatable boats each carrying around 100 people, on waters with temperatures barely above zero with waves as high as eight metres, capsized between North Africa and Sicily.
The news came shortly after 29 migrants froze to death trying to make the same journey. There have been many similar stories over the past months. Last year, 3,419 migrants lost their lives in this way.
At the end of last year, the Italian government gave in to anti-immigrant pressure and ended Mare Nostrum — an extensive rescue scheme, which right-wingers claimed was the reason for the influx of migrants.
It was replaced with Triton, which uses a fraction of the money, resources and patrols a much smaller area than Mare Nostrum. This means ships are left to become wrecks and migrants are left to drown.
The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogerini, has said that Triton isn’t up to the task and is calling for an emergency meeting on migrant deaths.
It is shameful that it takes so many deaths for others to realise how dangerous anti-immigrant rhetoric is. The migrants fleeing war and political repression could not get any more desperate, they are literally risking death to leave their homes and make a better life for themselves.
Mare Nostrum was never the problem.