250 Missing After Migrant Ship from Libya Capsizes

A ship carrying migrants from North Africa capsized off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday, leaving more than 250 people missing, some of them women and children.

The ship, which came from Libya, was carrying mostly sub-Saharan Africans trying to escape the turmoil in the region. More than 22,000 migrants have reached Lampedusa since January, according to the New York Times.

Italian authorities were able to rescue around 50 people as of Wednesday afternoon, while some 20 bodies have reportedly been found. The International Organization for Migration said at least 40 of the ship’s passengers were women. Some of the migrants came from Ivory Coast, where the forces of opposition leader Alassane Outtara are trying to force Laurent Gbagbo out of office. Migrants from Somalia, Nigeria, Chad, and Sudan were also among the passengers of the ill-fated ship.

Italian authorities are currently struggling to prevent migrant overcrowding on Lampedusa island, which only last week was on the brink of running out of food and water. Some of the migrants have reportedly been brought to the Italian mainland, where they live in tents.