HANDOUT - 24.07.2022, ---: Die Besatzung der Sea-Watch 3 verteilt Rettungswesten an Menschen in einem Schlauchboot, mit dem sie versuchten nach Europa zu gelangen. Die italienische Küstenwache teilte mit, dass italienische Schiffe auch Leichen geborgen haben, als sie 674 Menschen auf einem im Mittelmeer vor der libyschen Küste treibenden Fischerboot retteten. Foto: Nora Boerding/Sea-Watch via AP/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits bis zum 9. August 2022. +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Because of more and more migrants in distress in the Mediterranean, three aid organizations are calling for a state search and rescue program. The German association Sea-Watch and the international organizations Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée called on the EU states on Wednesday to “deploy an appropriate, state-run and proactive fleet for sea rescue”.

In the past few weeks, the helpers had brought hundreds of migrants on board their ships who wanted to cross from Africa to Europe. Italy has registered more than 42,000 people so far this year – that is already significantly more than in all of 2021, when 30,000 were counted.

The Mediterranean country is having increasing problems registering and admitting people properly. The refugee camp on the island of Lampedusa, designed for around 350 people, is extremely overcrowded.

The helpers complain that the EU countries are not carrying out coordinated operations in the Mediterranean to save people. Instead, civil organizations would have to step in. According to the UN, 907 migrants have been reported dead or missing on the central Mediterranean route this year alone.

Matteo Salvini from the right-wing Lega wants to visit the camp in Lampedusa this Thursday and campaign there. He is hoping for a victory for the centre-right bloc in the September 25 elections and has already announced that he will then take much tougher action against migrants.