Lampedusa, August 8 - A seven-year-old boy was among two people to die in a migrant boat during a crossing from North Africa to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, survivors said on Thursday. The boat was in difficulty and sank soon after an Italian fishing vessel rescued 103 Somali migrants overnight near Lampedusa. The survivors, including a 29-year-old pregnant woman, were subsequently taken to Lampedusa by a Coast Guard boat. The said the bodies of the dead pair were thrown into the sea. The mother of the dead child survived, but was in a state of shock and was unable to respond to rescuers' questions. Southern Italy, in particular the tiny island of Lampedusa off Sicily, deals with huge migration flows every summer. Throngs of migrants who survive the dangerous sea crossing from North Africa continue to arrive daily, although many die every year trying to make the crossing. On Sunday 90 Somalis saved in a boat in the Channel of Sicily said three women died of thirst during their voyage. Lampedusa continues to deal with the emergency situation, with its reception centre overloaded as authorities struggle to move migrants to centers in other cities. Early on Thursday another boat carrying 85 migrants arrived there. Another boat carrying 200 migrants, including two newborn babies, landed at the Sicilian port of Siracusa Thursday after being rescued by Italian police.
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di Sebastiano Caspanello