The Latest: Aid group recovers 25 bodies in Mediterranean

AP News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2016 1:50 PM
The Latest: Aid group recovers 25 bodies in Mediterranean

CALAIS, France (AP) — The Latest on the influx of asylum-seekers and migrants to Europe (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Doctors Without Borders says its personnel have recovered the bodies of 25 migrants aboard an overcrowded inflatable raft in the Mediterranean Sea.

The aid group said Wednesday that the bodies were discovered during the rescue of 246 people on two rafts. Field coordinator Michele Telaro said in a statement that victims likely died of fuel inhalation, and that the potent mixture of petrol and water hampered the recovery efforts during the operation Tuesday. Twenty-three survivors were treated for chemical burns.

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4:30 p.m.

The U.N. refugee agency says the death toll for migrants in the Mediterranean has reached at least 3,800 this year so far.

The Geneva-based agency said Wednesday on Twitter than this makes 2016 the deadliest year ever for migrants in the Mediterranean.

The global body had warned on Tuesday that this year's death toll was likely to exceed the 3,771 deaths reported for the whole of 2015.

Migrants fleeing war and poverty take dangerous trips from Libya to Italy on overcrowded boats, hoping to make their way from there to new lives in Europe.

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4 p.m.

A Danish mayor says an asylum center in central Denmark for males under the age of 18 will be shut down because two female employees are suspected of "having committed sexual abuses on some of the boys."

Mayor Bjarne Nielsen says that even if the sexual contacts allegedly occurred outside the center in Tulleboelle on the Langeland island and during the employees' free time, "it is an offense."

Nielsen said Wednesday the cases had been reported to the police and the employees had been sent away.

Denmark's immigration minister Inger Stoejberg said "the case was unique" and no similar steps were planned elsewhere.

Nielsen said the decision to close the center with about 40 young men was made Tuesday evening and would be effective later this week.

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2:25 p.m.

French authorities say they've cleared the Calais migrant camp known as "the jungle," days earlier than planned.

A local official in the region. Fabienne Buccio, said Wednesday that their mission has been accomplished. Thousands fleeing war and poverty have lived in squalor at the camp as they waited for a chance to sneak into Britain.

Buccio says "there are no more migrants in the camp. Our mission has been fulfilled."

Authorities moved fast after migrants set fire to shelters and tents in the camp in northern France before being forced to leave.

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12:35 p.m.

The pope has appealed for openness and generosity over immigration as Italy grapples with how to accommodate a growing number of migrants.

Pope Francis' appeal on Wednesday came the day after residents of an Adriatic coastal town formed a blockade to prevent the arrival of 12 female migrants, one of them pregnant, who were to be housed in a hostel. In the face of resistance, officials found lodging elsewhere.

Francis said that "in every age, the phenomenon of immigration calls for a response of openness and solidarity. In our own day, the growing influx of refugees fleeing war, famine and poverty is a summons to welcome and care for these brothers and sisters."

The reaction of residents of Goro, in Ferrara province, has been widely criticized.

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12:30 p.m.

Large portions of a makeshift migrant camp in Calais known as "the jungle," are going up in flames as French authorities move to shut down the camp.

Firefighters have already doused several dozen fires set by migrants as they left the makeshift camp where they have been living near the northern French city of Calais.

Steve Barbet, a spokesman for the regional prefecture, said Wednesday that one migrant was slightly injured and taken to the Calais hospital. About 100 migrants were evacuated overnight to a no man's land at the entrance of the camp.

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11:25 a.m.

Romanian border police say they have detained 12 people, including three children, who are suspected of illegally entering the country.

Police said Wednesday that they found the group of 7 Iraqis, 4 Turks and a Syrian walking close to the border with Hungary in southwest Romania late Tuesday.

Police said the adults were aged between 26 and 50 and the children's ages ranged from 7 to 13. They told police they were trying to reach Western Europe.

They are being investigated for illegally crossing the border into Romania.

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11:15 a.m.

Firefighters have doused several dozen fires set by migrants as they left the makeshift camp where they have been living near the northern French city of Calais.

Steve Barbet, spokesman for the regional prefecture, said Wednesday that one migrant was slightly injured and taken to the Calais hospital. About 100 migrants were evacuated overnight to a no man's land at the entrance of the camp known as "the jungle".

Firefighters tackled the flames in shelters and small shops. Prefect Fabienne Buccio had said Tuesday night that migrants "have a tradition" of burning their shelters before leaving.

After two full days of a weeklong operation, French authorities have already transported thousands of migrants to reception centers around France.

The camp used to be temporary home to 6,300 migrants according to authorities. Aid groups counted more than 8,000 people.