Pregnant mother and toddler among those killed yesterday in yet another tragic shipwreck in the Mediterranean, with more missing – UNICEF

Statement by UNICEF Country Coordinator for the National Response in Italy, Nicola Dell’Arciprete

07 August 2023

ROME, 7 August 2023 – “UNICEF is deeply saddened by yet another shipwreck in the Mediterranean. This time, a pregnant mother is among those who have lost their lives off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy.

“An 18-month-old child travelling with their mother has also died. Around 30 people remain missing, including children. Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy.

“At least 289 children have died or disappeared attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean Sea to Europe in the first six months of the year. Many shipwrecks on the Central Mediterranean Sea crossing leave no survivors or go unrecorded, making the true number of child casualties likely far higher.

“We urge those in power to create safer legal pathways for migration and asylum in the European Union, and for coordinated search and rescue operations that help prevent deaths at sea. More must be done to protect children in their countries of origin, countries of transit and countries of arrival.

“UNICEF is on the ground in Lampedusa, working with the Government and other partners to provide children and women with access to psychosocial support, health and specialized services for those at risk of violence, exploitation and abuse.”


Notes to editors

In the first six months of the year, UNICEF reached more than 2000 unaccompanied and separated children on the island of Lampedusa through the project “PROTECT”, supported by the European Commission's Department for Migration and Home Affairs.

Media contacts

Chiara Saturnino
UNICEF National Response in Italy
Tel: +393297219567
Georgina Diallo
UNICEF Europe and Central Asia
Tel: +41 76 320 68 14


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