Malta's prime minister said the people on board a boat that capsized in the Mediterranean on Friday were fleeing the conflict in Syria.
The accident follows last week's disaster off the Italian island of Lampedusa, where 339 Eritrean and Somali migrants drowned.
Joseph Muscat told Sky News:
The difference from last week's tragedy is that these people, instead of Somalia, they hail from Syria which makes the case even more complicated and shows the immense humanitarian tragedy that the Mediterranean is experiencing right now.
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Monica O'Connor and at least two other people were killed in the incident, and a British man remains missing.
Lively downpours across the south, Wales and Northern Ireland today - slow moving and intense with hail and thunder.
"The council's inspector judged there was an imminent health risk and an immediate voluntary closure of the takeaway was agreed."