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More than 4,200 rescued in a single day in Sicily

By (PNA/Xinhua)

Rome– More than 4,200 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean were brought to Sicily on Monday, Italian authorities said.

At least 17 bodies were also recovered and brought to land, three of which were children, according to medical staff in the regional capital of Palermo.

Sicily, Italy Map(Photo courtesy of Google Map)

Sicily, Italy Map(Photo courtesy of Google Map)

Overall, some 4,292 rescued migrants and refugees reached various ports across the Sicilian region, including Palermo, Trapani, Messina, and Pozzallo. These were the latest arrivals of people saved in the last two days, according to the Italian Coast Guard.

Another 6,500 people were recovered last week, including at least 14 bodies. On Saturday, some 2,400 migrants were picked up from overcrowded boats during 20 sea operations, according to the coast guard.

“Italy is doing its part in this migrant crisis, but of course it cannot do it alone,” Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni told local media on Monday, while welcoming 75 Syrian refugees relocated from Lebanon to Italy through a “humanitarian corridor” project.

The three dead children were among some 1,100 people brought by Norwegian ship Siem Pilot to Palermo on Monday. The same Norwegian crew had reportedly saved 2,400 people overall off the coasts of Libya over the weekend.

One of the victims was an eight-year-old girl, who seemed to have been trampled while still aboard the overcrowded craft, possibly during the chaotic rescue, La Repubblica daily wrote, citing doctors in Palermo.

Another was a toddler of about one year of age. More than 148,900 migrants and refugees have arrived by sea to Italy so far in 2016, according to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR. The figure was quite in line with last year’s, when 153,842 arrivals by sea had been registered in Italy.

Some 16 percent of them were unaccompanied minors, the agency added. Some 3,654 people were reported dead or missing.