Italy says 6,000 migrants saved and two drowned since Thursday

#Refugees

Italian navy ships patrolling the Mediterranean coast near war-torn Libya said they had saved 6,000 people trying to reach Europe

The Italian navy (Marina Militare) shows a rescue operation of migrants and refugees at sea (AFP)
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Last update: 
Monday 1 August 2016 13:29 UTC
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The Italian navy on Sunday said it had recovered the bodies of two people in an operation that, along with aid agencies, had helped pick up 6,000 people since Thursday.

Navy ships patrolling off Libya intervened to help four rubber dinghies and an overcrowded fishing boat, it said.

In one operation by the vessel Vega, "five migrants were picked up out of the sea, three people were resuscitated and two were already dead," it said on its Twitter account.

According to the latest figures from the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) - issued on 28 July before the latest migratory wave - 89,217 people, most from sub-Saharan Africa, have arrived in Italy by sea since the start of the year.

The tally is comparable with the total of 93,000 recorded for the January-July period last year.

More than 3,000 migrants have died trying to make the crossing, an increase of more than 50 percent compared to the same period in 2015, according to the International Office of Migration (IOM).

On Thursday, Italy launched a campaign on the Internet, TV, radio and social media to warn African migrants of the many dangers they face in trying to reach Europe.

Dubbed "Aware Migrants," the $1.6 million campaign is targeting 15 countries in West and North Africa which have been major sources of the migratory wave.

It features migrants recounting their suffering at the hands of ruthless smugglers or enduring the perilous Mediterranean crossing.