SHAFAQNA – More than 200 migrants are missing after their boats sank in the Mediterranean Sea, according to survivors of the latest tragedy in the area, the UN refugee agency said Wednesday.
“Nine were saved after four days at sea. The other 203 were swallowed by the waves,” UNHCR spokeswoman in Italy, Carlotta Sami, said on Twitter, AFP reports.
Reuters news agency said that the boats were on their way to Italy from Libya.
Earlier this week 29 migrants from Africa died of hypothermia while trying to reach Europe by boat in rough and icy conditions.
Italian coastguard picked up 105 migrants from the Mediterranean on Sunday night. They had been travelling in a converted fishing boat.
More than 3,200 people have died in the last year attempting to reach Italy by boat from North Africa.
Over 170,000 people, a record number, landed there in 2014.
Italy has ended its Mare Nostrum rescue programme, which cost Italian tax payers €9m per month, and replaced it with a cheaper effort dubbed “Triton.”