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The 700 migrants who died on a sunken ship receive a dignified burial

2016-08-05

This ship, which carried the hopes and dreams of hundreds of migrants, also became their tomb...

The Italian Navy recovered the boat from the sea a few days ago after it had been sunken for a year. There were more than 700 dead inside the boat.

It is estimated that about 850 people were on the boat, of which only 28 were saved. Some dead bodies were recovered because the vast majority were in the cellar of the sunken ship.

Now preparations for a decent burial for the migrants has begun. 

FR. GIANCARLO PEREGO
Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"The initiative, this great humanitarian initiative, was an idea of the Italian government, which aims to acknowledge the great merit of rescuing these people, to allow the recognition of their identities for the families of these people."

The Fondazione Migrantes is an agency of the Italian Bishops' Conference that deals with migrants and refugees. It will work with the Italian Police to facilitate the arrival of the relatives and their return to their home countries with the body of their loved one. They are also willing to provide the necessary financial aid.

The Pope has asked that in this Jubilee of Mercy, Christians practice the works of mercy. One of them is "burying the dead."

FR. GIANCARLO PEREGO
Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"It looked like something from the past but in reality this work of mercy, as shown, is great in the present."

The combined effort of the network of 12,000 missionaries spread around the world and Italian embassies will help look for prospective families. It is a small gesture of humanity in the midst of a tragedy that seems endless.

FR. GIANCARLO PEREGO
Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"It's not just about burying a body, it is to let a family, a mother know that her son is gone. So they do not have to continue to live with uncertainty of not knowing where their child is or if someone could do something for him."

So far this year, nearly 3,000 people have died in the Mediterranean waters trying to find a better life away from hunger, war or violence.

FR. GIANCARLO PEREGO
Director, Fondazione Migrantes
"This picture of the recovered boat is a great symbol to end this slavery we left in the hands of others."

The EU treaty with Turkey revived the dangerous route from the Libyan coast to Italy. While the distance from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos is only 10 miles, from Libya to Lampedusa it is more than 300 miles. During the journey from Libya on April 18, 2015, 700 people died.

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