EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans

April 24th, 2015  
News Manager

Topic: EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans

By Alastair Macdonald and Kole Casule BRUSSELS/SKOPJE (Reuters) - British and German warships made ready to sail for waters off Libya as Europe ramped up rescue operations in the Mediterranean after up to 900 desperate migrants drowned last weekend on a boat heading for Italy. Yet hours after European Union leaders agreed in Brussels on Thursday to treble funding for EU maritime missions and pledged more ships and aircraft, 14 clandestine migrants were killed when a train ploughed into dozens of Somalis and Afghans making their way in darkness along a rail track in a Macedonian gorge. After the sinking of a packed fishing vessel last weekend nearly doubled the death toll at sea this year to almost 2,000, EU leaders responded to a public outcry by reversing sharp cuts in search and rescue operations -- though voters' wariness of immigration means few are willing to take in many more refugees. Britain's helicopter-carrying flagship Bulwark, currently near Istanbul, will head for the area between Libya and Italy on Sunday, the government said.


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