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SOS from the Mediterranean

Ports in Italy and Malta are closed to migrants due to Covid 19 – but boatloads of people keep crossing from Libya.

People crossing the Central Mediterranean in rubber boats are always putting their lives in danger. Now a bleak situation is made worse by Covid 19 as ports in Malta and Italy are closed to migrants and coastguards are reluctant to mount rescue operations.

Over the Easter weekend several boats set out from the Libyan coast. Some made it to Sicily themselves. Two others drifted for days. The engines were broken and the people, including children and babies, ran out of food and water. Twelve people died. Dozens of others were picked up and taken back to Libya where they now languish in hellish detention centres. Others made it to Europe.

This is the story of that weekend, told through recordings of distress calls from the boats and the testimony of a network of activists as they monitored the desperate situation.

Producer and presenter: Lucy Proctor

(Image: Migrants in a dinghy at sea. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis)

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27 minutes

Last on

Last Saturday 14:06GMT


  • Thu 21 May 2020 02:06GMT
  • Thu 21 May 2020 08:32GMT
  • Thu 21 May 2020 12:32GMT
  • Thu 21 May 2020 15:32GMT
  • Thu 21 May 2020 21:06GMT
  • Last Saturday 14:06GMT

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