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migrants rescue mediterranean italy
A ship belonging to Italian authorities approaches one of three migrant rafts some 120 miles off the Italian coast, about 40 miles from Libya, on June 6, 2015.Giulio Piscitelli
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
migrants rescue mediterranean italy
A ship belonging to Italian authorities approaches one of three migrant rafts some 120 miles off the Italian coast, abou
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Giulio Piscitelli
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Somber Images of the Migrant Crisis in the Mediterranean Sea

Jun 09, 2015

Thousands of migrants and refugees were rescued from smugglers' vessels in the Mediterranean over the weekend, pushing the total number of arrivals in Europe this year to more than 101,000 as political leaders struggle with dividing the burden.

An estimated 101,900 migrants have made it to Europe since Jan. 1, the International Organization for Migration said Monday, including some 7,000 people who were rescued between June 6-8 in a maritime operation involving Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Sweden. Italy and Greece have taken in the most, at more than 52,000 and more than 46,000, respectively.

The latest rescues illustrate the impact of warmer weather on the crossings, which received heavy attention earlier this year after the death toll from a number of shipwrecks between Italy and Libya—now a funnel into Europe for those fleeing conflict, poverty and persecution—quickly reached more than 1,800, well above the 425 recorded for the whole of 2014.

Broader search-and-rescue operations have been credited with the rising number of rescues, versus more deaths, as European Union member nations decide how is best to relieve the pressure of the influx.

Italian photographer Giulio Piscitelli has been documenting the crisis in the Mediterranean.

Read next: The Tiny Greek Island at the Center of the Refugee Crisis

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