Italian coastguard in mass migrant rescue

A child from African origin is rescued from a distressed vessel by a member of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the Mediterranean Sea some 20 nautical miles north of Libya on October 3, 2016. Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Proactiva Open Arms NGO helped in the rescue

The Italian coastguard has co-ordinated the rescue of more than 5,600 migrants, in one of the biggest operations in a single day.

The migrants had set off from the Libyan coast in nearly 40 boats.

One migrant is reported to have died and several others were airlifted for medical treatment.

According to the International Organization for Migration, some 132,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year.

Nearly 200 minors were saved from one of the boats, which was crammed with some 720 people. Most of the children were unaccompanied.

The rescue comes exactly three years after 366 migrants died when an overcrowded boat sank off the Italian coast.

The scale of that disaster brought attention to the plight of migrants making dangerous journeys at the mercy of smugglers.

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