ROME (HPD) — Authorities were searching the waters off southern Italy Sunday for a 2-week-old baby who went missing after a migrant boat capsized.
The vessel, officials said, capsized the day before near the uninhabited island of Lampione, part of the archipelago that includes Lampedusa, a tourist island where many migrants have been sheltered.
Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, told the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero that border police had rescued the other passengers on the raft.
The 39 survivors, from various sub-Saharan countries, included eight minors and the parents of the missing baby, La Sicilia newspaper reported Sunday on its website.
It was one of several rescues carried out in recent days by Italian military vessels or private charity groups near Lampedusa and other parts of southern Italy.
Hundreds of rescued migrants are now being temporarily housed in an overcrowded docking center in Lampedusa.
Italy has been grappling for more than a decade with the problem of how to stop migrants from jumping into the Mediterranean Sea, from Libya, Tunisia or elsewhere to try to reach Europe.
In general, the asylum requests of these migrants fail because they are fleeing economic circumstances and not because of wars or political persecution.