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Around 7,800 migrants landed in Italy so far this year

Most came from North Africa, says UNHCR

05 July, 19:09
Around 7,800 migrants landed in Italy so far this year (ANSA) - Rome, July 5 - Around 7,800 migrants and asylum-seekers landed on Italy's shores in the first half of 2013, UNHCR said Friday, while some 600 more arrived in Malta.

The United Nations refugee agency said that most of the migrants came from North Africa, principally Libya. It said around 40 people have died trying to make the crossing from Tunisia to Italy so far this year.

In 2012, almost 500 people were reported dead or missing at sea. UNHCR attributed the decrease in deaths so far in 2013 to the efforts of the Italian and Maltese authorities to better coordinate sea rescues.

The crossing between Italy and North Africa is very dangerous and every year people die attempting it. On Monday Pope Francis will visit the Sicilian island of Lampedusa to pray with migrants and local people and will throw a wreath into the sea to pay tribute to the migrants who die at sea.

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