Germany takes in 32 survivors from migrant shipwreck off Italy

Germany takes in 32 survivors from migrant shipwreck off Italy

ROME (Reuters) – Germany has taken in 32 of the survivors from last month’s migrant shipwreck off southern Italy, Italian and United Nations authorities said on Friday.

More than 90 people died on Feb. 26 near Cutro, in the Calabria region, in one of the deadliest sea accidents in Italian territorial waters.

In total, 80 people survived, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi told parliament on March 7.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) helped organise a charter flight for 32 of the survivors to Hamburg, a Calabria provincial government office said in a statement.

“IOM is happy to have supported the relocation under the EU voluntary solidarity mechanism,” the IOM said separately on Twitter.

According to the ANSA news agency, the survivors – comprising 28 Afghans, two Syrians, one Iraqi and one Somali – will join relatives already living in Germany.

An IOM spokesman said they would be able to apply for asylum.

Italy’s right-wing government, which is facing a surge in sea arrivals from North Africa, has repeatedly urged other countries in the European Union to take in more migrants.

Italian authorities have faced accusations, which they strongly deny, that they did not do enough to stop the migrant shipwreck.

Police boats tried to intercept the boat before it sank, but failed to reach it due to rough weather. Charities and opposition politicians have asked why coast guard vessels, better equipped to face high seas, were not deployed instead.

(Reporting by Alvise Armellini, Editing by Gareth Jones)

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