Humanitarian crisis at sea: More than 4,200 migrants rescued in Mediterranean

More than 4,200 migrants trying to reach Europe were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea over the past 24 hours, the Italian Coast Guard said Saturday.

Migrants wait to disembark from the Irish navy ship LÉ Eithne as they arrives in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo, Italy, May 30, 2015. Photo by Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Migrants wait to disembark from the Irish navy ship LÉ Eithne as they arrives in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo, Italy, May 30, 2015. Photo by Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

In what was one of the biggest day for rescues in recent years, a total of 4,243 people were saved from fishing boats and rubber dinghies after being found adrift during 22 separate naval operations led by Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Britain, Reuters reported.

The Godetia logistical support ship of the Belgian Navy is docked on May 30, 2015 upon its arrival in the port of Crotone in the Italian southern region of Calabria after rescuing some 200 migrants, as part of Frontex-coordinated Operation Triton off the Italian coast. Photo by Alfonso di Vincenzo/Getty Images.

The Godetia logistical support ship of the Belgian Navy is docked on May 30, 2015 upon its arrival in the port of Crotone in the Italian southern region of Calabria after rescuing some 200 migrants, as part of Frontex-coordinated Operation Triton off the Italian coast. Photo by Alfonso di Vincenzo/Getty Images.

Adding to the growing humanitarian crisis, the Italian Navy on Friday reported 17 dead bodies were found in one of the boats off Libya.

Belgian sailors distribute water to migrants aboard the Godetia logistical support ship of the Belgian Navy on May 30, 2015. Photo by Alfonso di Vincenzo/Getty Images

Belgian sailors distribute water to migrants aboard the Godetia logistical support ship of the Belgian Navy on May 30, 2015. Photo by Alfonso di Vincenzo/Getty Images

The migrants were taken ashore at Sicily where they will be processed and taken to temporary housing.

A woman is helped by medical staff as she disembarks from the Irish navy ship LE Eithne in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo, Italy, May 30, 2015. Photo by Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

A woman is helped by medical staff as she disembarks from the Irish navy ship LE Eithne in the Sicilian harbour of Palermo, Italy, May 30, 2015. Photo by Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Scattered at sea, the migrants face extreme weather changes, hunger, thirst and violence while crammed aboard the flimsy vessels.

Belgian sailors help migrant children and women off the Godetia logistical support ship of the Belgian Navy on May 30, 2015. Photo by Alfonso di Vincenzo/Getty Images.

Belgian sailors help migrant children and women off the Godetia logistical support ship of the Belgian Navy on May 30, 2015. Photo by Alfonso di Vincenzo/Getty Images.

In April, about 800 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya when their 20-meter-long fishing boat capsized and sank, Reuters reported.

Fleeing war, poverty and persecution in Africa and the Middle East, the migrants are trying to sail to Europe, where more than 80,000 have landed so far this year. The United Nations says more than 35,000 migrants have arrived in Italy alone since January.

Italian officer Gianluca D'Agostino of the Italian Coast Guard, looks at a map of the Mediterranean Sea, in the control center at the headquarter of Italian Coast Guard, on May 28 2015, in Rome. Photo by Andreas Solaro/Getty Images.

Italian officer Gianluca D’Agostino of the Italian Coast Guard, looks at a map of the Mediterranean Sea, in the control center at the headquarter of Italian Coast Guard, on May 28 2015, in Rome. Photo by Andreas Solaro/Getty Images.

About 1,820 migrants have died or gone missing on the sea route to Europe this year, the International Organization for Migration estimates.

The post Humanitarian crisis at sea: More than 4,200 migrants rescued in Mediterranean appeared first on PBS NewsHour.

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