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10,000 migrants rescued from Mediterranean in just four days

Nearly 10,000 migrants have been rescued from boats travelling across the Mediterranean to Italy in the past four days alone, the Italian Coast Guard has revealed.

Official estimates suggesting at least 31,500 migrants have entered Italy and Greece since the start of the year as increasing governmental instability and violence in Africa has prompted a surge in numbers fleeing to Europe.

Another 900 are believed to have drowned on the crossing, including 400 people aboard a boat which capsized on Monday.

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Migrant boat capsized after men 'all rushed to one side'

A boat carrying hundreds of migrants across the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy capsized when those on board all rushed to one side in a desperate bid to be rescued, an official has said.

Around 400 passengers on board the ship are thought to have died when the ship sank on Monday around 75 miles (120km) from the Italian island of Lampedusa, while 145 were rescued.

Migrants rescued by the Italian coast guard Credit: Reuters

Experts say many of those unaccounted for are women and children.

According to testimonies, at least one-third of the passengers were women and children. At the time of the shipwreck, they were staying in the hull of the boat to be better protected from the cold.

When the men on the deck became restless and started moving about because a rescue boat was beginning to approach them, the boat capsized and water flooded the hull. Women and children died immediately.

– Joel Millman, International Organization for Migration spokesman

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