About 6,800 migrants have been rescued from overcrowded boats crossing to Europe over the weekend, including a mother who gave birth to a baby girl on an Italian navy ship, the coast guard said. Reuters report:
Numbers risking the journey in search of a better life have continued to rise two weeks after as many as 900 people drowned in the worst Mediterranean shipwreck in living memory.
Crew from the Italian naval vessel Bettica found the woman in labor on a boat overnight — one of 34 vessels intercepted over the weekend. A photo posted online showed her new daughter sleeping in a makeshift cradle decorated with a pink bow. “Both mother and daughter are in good health,” the navy said in a statement.
Growing lawlessness and anarchy in Libya — the last point on one of the main transit routes to Europe — is giving free hand to people smugglers who make an average of 80,000 euros ($90,000) from each boatload, according to an ongoing investigation by an Italian court.
Mild spring weather and calm summer seas are expected to push total arrivals in Italy for 2015 to 200,000, an increase of 30,000 on last year, according to an Interior Ministry projection.