Infant dies in Mediterranean crossing attempt

  ROME -- A five-month-old baby has died during a crossing attempt on the Central Mediterranean Route according to the municipality of Lampedusa. 

  The infant’s body was brought ashore on Tuesday morning to the Favarolo dock after the migrants were rescued by an NGO ship Humanity 1. The infant had been travelling with her mother and brother from Guinea. 

  It is suspected that the child died of dehydration. “I could not breastfeed her, we had no water on board for three days,” her mother lamented. A post-mortem examination will be carried out at the Cala Pisana mortuary. 

  “An endless tally, yet another tragedy repeats itself," the Mayor of Lampedusa, Filippo Mannino, stated. “Once again careless traffickers profit from the desperation of these people, making men, women, children, and newborns set off in these makeshift boats which cannot even stay afloat. Criminals who have a disregard for human life, careless people who charge so much, so many people die at sea. It is always the same story and it is unacceptable.”

  Spokesperson for Save the Children, Giovanna di Benedetto, also commented on the tragedy. “News that leaves us in shock. The toll in terms of human lives paid by men, women, and children fleeing war, famine, conflict, and violence in the Central Mediterranean is increasingly heavy.” 

   The Central Mediterranean was “confirmed as the world’s deadliest route, with almost 700 dead or missing in 2024 alone, according to according to data from the International Organisation for Migration. These are now foreseen tragedies, and one cannot watch on helplessly.” Benedetto added.

  The NGO ship, Humanity 1, has now received orders from the Italian authorities to dock at the port of Liverno, around 1,170 kilometres from the first rescue site. This would mean another three days of sailing for the 185 migrants on board. 

  “Some are hurt and have fuel burns, they are all exhausted,” explained the NGO, “Yesterday the captain asked the Italian rescue coordination centre in vain for a closer port to avoid unnecessary risk to the survivors. Given the tragic circumstances, SOS Humanity has urgently asked for the assignment of a closer and safer port for the disembarking survivors.”