Initial reports by Sicilian officials who received a distress signal indicated that the number of people on board was about 50.

At least nine people were killed when a boat carrying dozens of migrants sank off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, the Italian coast guard said on Monday.

Initial reports from the Sicilian authorities that received the distress signal indicated that the number of people on board was about 50.

The UN Migration Agency reported that the boat sailed from Tunisia and transported Tunisian and West African migrants.

“This once again underlines the need for urgent action to resolve the situation in the Mediterranean,” said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency.

“This year alone, more than 1,000 people died in the Mediterranean Sea, most of them on their way from Libya to Europe”, –  he said.

The Italian interior ministry reported that this year about 7939 migrants arrived in Italy by boat, which is 63 percent less compared to the same period in 2018 and 93 percent compared to 2017.

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