Relatives of the illegal emigrants aboard a fishing boat taking on water near the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea reported that a third child died on board due to dehydration and that they lost contact with the vessel last night.
The 60 emigrants on that boat have told their relatives earlier over a satellite phone that they have been without food, water, and baby milk for days.
The vessel left from the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli about 10 days ago. The passengers, headed for Italy, include Syrian refugees and Lebanese from the country’s impoverished north.
The emigrants have been communicating with relatives and activist groups through a satellite phone and have urged European coast guards to rescue them.
Alarm Phone, an activist network that helps bring rescuers to distressed migrants at sea, told the Associated Press that Maltese authorities responded to some of the network’s calls about the distressed boat, but had not confirmed a rescue operation.
Malta has also not given permission to a commercial cargo ship to rescue the stranded migrants, the network said.
Earlier, Lebanese MP Ashraf Rifi urged the Italian government, as well as the Lebanese Foreign Ministry and the Lebanese Embassy in Rome to take action.
The boat and its passengers have been in distress for days now, with no rescue attempt whatsoever.