Newborn baby found dead on migrant boat off Italy’s Lampedusa

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The Italian Coast Guard found a newborn baby dead on a boat carrying migrants to the Italian island of Lampedusa during a rescue operation, ANSA news agency reported on Saturday.

The baby was born during the trip and died soon after birth, ANSA reported, adding that around 40 migrants were on the boat.

Earlier this week, a five-month-old baby boy drowned during a rescue operation off Lampedusa after a boat carrying migrants across the sea from North Africa capsized.

Nearly 126 000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, almost double the figure by the same date in 2022. Lampedusa has recently borne the brunt, with around 7 000 landings there this week alone, more than the island’s permanent population, triggering passionate appeals for help from local politicians.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called on Friday for the European Union to act jointly “with a naval mission if necessary” to prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.

In a video message posted on social media, Meloni promised strict action in response to a surge in migrant arrivals this week.