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A wreath of flowers thrown by Pope Francis into the water off Lampedusa, Italy, in honour of migrants who have died at sea, July 2013 (CNS/Paul Haring)

Following yet another migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean, Pope Francis has expressed his sorrow and urged people not to be indifferent in the face of continuing migrant deaths during dangerous sea crossings. Source: Vatican News.

In a post yesterday on X, formerly known as Twitter, Pope Francis referenced the sinking of a migrant boat off the shores of Italy on Wednesday, which killed 41 people.

The vessel was transporting migrants from Sfax in Tunisia to Italy. Four survivors were rescued by a Maltese cargo ship and taken to Lampedusa by the Italian coastguard. The survivors, from Ivory Coast and Guinea, said that 45 people had been on board, including three children.

“With sorrow I heard about the news of the shipwreck involving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. Let us not remain indifferent to these tragedies, and let us pray for the victims and their families,” the Pope said on his @Pontifex account.

According to Italian authorities, more than 90,000 people have reached Italy this year after crossing the Mediterranean Sea. That’s more than double the number compared to the same time period last year.

They are fleeing conflicts in countries like Sudan and Ethiopia, insecurity in the Sahel regions and beyond, drought and famine in the Horn of Africa, and the climate crisis throughout the African continent that has devastated crops, herds, and livelihoods. The route is also used by refugees fleeing persecution and violence in Afghanistan, Syria, and other Middle Eastern and Asian nations.

The International Organisation for Migration reports that the Mediterranean crossing is one of the most dangerous migrant routes in the world. It estimates that almost 28,000 people have gone missing trying to cross the sea since 2014.

Pope Francis, who has described the Mediterranean Sea as Europe’s largest cemetery, has repeatedly appealed to leaders and policy-makers to protect the lives and dignity of our brothers and sisters on the move.


Pope urges us not to be indifferent to migrant tragedies (By Linda Bordoni, Vatican News