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Migrants land in Italy after deal with France, Germany

30 October 2019, MVT 18:52
The migrants pulled to safety on October 18 by the Ocean Viking -- including 41 minors and two pregnant women. PHOTO: ANNE CHAON / AFP
30 October 2019, MVT 18:52

Around 100 migrants who were rescued in the Mediterranean landed in Sicily on Wednesday after France and Germany agreed to host some of them, the coast guard said.

"All 104 rescued people have now disembarked from the Ocean Viking," Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which operates the ship along with SOS Mediterranee, said on Twitter.

"Meanwhile, all our support goes to the Alan Kurdi, (which is) still waiting for a place of safety to disembark 90 people rescued in a critical context last Saturday," it said.

The migrants pulled to safety on October 18 by the Ocean Viking -- including 41 minors and two pregnant women -- landed in Pozzallo and were transferred to a local reception centre. France and Germany will take in around 70 of them.

On Saturday, German charity Sea-Eye rescued 90 migrants with its ship, the Alan Kurdi, named after the Syrian child whose drowning in the Mediterranean brought global attention to the migrant crisis.

It is not yet known where the vessel will be allowed to dock.

Spanish rescue charity Open Arms said on Twitter it had saved 15 people "when their drifting boat was about to sink".

It slammed the Maltese authorities for allegedly telling it "that a rescue was not necessary" and the migrants "should be allowed to continue", despite having engine trouble.

"Maybe they thought they were tourists on vacation? Or maybe they were expecting the same fate for these people as the 30 abandoned people who drowned on October 7?" it asked in a video showing the drifting dinghy.

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos thanked Italy, France and Germany "for showing solidarity", but insisted on the need to find "permanent solutions" to the distribution of new migrant arrivals in Europe.

Rome, Italy | AFP

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