On Monday, the Day of Memory for Migrants, I wrote that over 6,000 had been saved in Italian-led operations in the Mediterranean on that day. In the two days since, a further 11,000 desperate people have been saved in 72 operations coordinated by the Rome Coast Guard. Sadly, 28 bodies were also recovered, 22 of them from an inadequate boat crammed with 1,000 migrants.
Some of the migrants were transferred to the Coast Guard ship Dattilo, on which three babies were safely born. All are said to be healthy.
Today 1,020 of the rescued migrants were brought to Palermo but almost all will shortly be taken to centres in other regions. How awful it must be to make that perilous sea crossing in terrible conditions, then not even know if you will be allowed to stay in Europe as your fate is held totally in the hands of others. I am ashamed to say that migrants can now expect even less help from my own country, which has lurched dangerously to the right, and the mood has obviously hardened in several other European countries obsessed with building walls.
President of the Italian Senate Pietro Grasso said this week,
"Per ogni singola vita perduta, muore la nostra umanità - For every single life that is lost, our humanity dies."