STECCATO DI CUTRO, Italy (AP) — The death toll rose to at least 63 in the migrant tragedy off Italy’s southern coast after rescue crews recovered several more bodies, driving home once again the desperate and dangerous boat crossings of people seeking to reach Europe. Dozens more were believed to be missing.
At least eight of the dead were children who perished after a wooden boat broke up in stormy seas on the shoals off the Calabrian coast. Eighty people survived.
“Many of them didn’t know how to swim and they saw people disappear in the waves; they saw them die,” said Giovanna Di Benedetto of Doctors Without Borders, which sent psychologists to help survivors.
More were feared dead given survivor accounts that the boat, which set off from Turkey last week, was carrying about 170 people.
State TV quoted Carabinieri paramilitary police as saying that two more bodies were recovered later in the day, but a few hours later the rescue coordination center said only one body had been recovered in the afternoon. The discrepancy wasn’t immediately explained.
The center also said in a statement that two Coast Guard vessels and one border police boat would keep up the search overnight, while two helicopters and specialized divers would resume their search later in the week.
Authorities in the southern city of Crotone asked relatives to provide descriptions and photos of loved ones to help identify the dead in a makeshift morgue at a sports arena.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook southern Turkey, three weeks after a catastrophic temblor devastated the region, causing some already damaged buildings to collapse and killing at least one person, authorities said.
More than 100 people were injured as a result of the quake which was centered in the town of Yesilyurt in Malatya province, Yunus Sezer, the chief of the country’s disaster management agency, AFAD, told reporters. More than two dozen buildings collapsed.
A father and daughter who were trapped beneath the ruins of a four-story building in Yesilyurt were rescued with injuries. They had entered the damaged building to collect belongings.
Elsewhere in Malatya, search-and-rescue teams were sifting through the rubble of two damaged buildings that toppled on some parked cars, HaberTurk reported. It was not clear if anyone was trapped under the debris.
Malatya was among 11 Turkish provinces hit by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated parts of southern Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6.
That quake led to more than 48,000 deaths in both countries as well as the collapse or serious damage of 185,000 buildings in Turkey.
AFAD’s chief urged people not to enter damaged buildings, saying strong aftershocks continue to pose a risk. More than 10,000 aftershocks have hit the region since Feb. 6.
BAGHDAD (AP) — Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Baghdad to denounce a draft elections law that would increase the size of the country’s electoral districts, potentially undermining independent candidates.
The current legislation, under which the 2021 election was held, breaks up each of the country’s 18 provinces into several electoral districts. The law, which was a key demand of mass anti-government protests that kicked off in late 2019, was seen as giving independent candidates a better chance at winning.
Last week, Parliament debated the draft, which would return Iraq to having one electoral district per governorate. Independent lawmakers who objected to the proposal, walked out of the session, which ended early due to losing its quorum.
The Parliament was set to discuss the proposed law again in its session later on during the week, but lawmakers voted to postpone the discussion until Saturday.
The return to a single district per province is backed by the Coordination Framework, a coalition of Iran-backed parties that forms the majority bloc in the current parliament, and which brought Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani to power last year.
Monday’s protests took place as heavy security forces surrounded the Parliament and closed off Joumhouriya Bridge on the Tigris River that leads to the government areas of the heavily fortified Green Zone.