VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis urged Europe to open its doors to refugees Wednesday as he marked the anniversary of a deadly migrant shipwreck off Sicily by meeting with survivors and relatives of the victims.
Some 368 people — most of them Eritrean and Syrian asylum-seekers — drowned Oct. 3, 2013 when their smugglers’ boat capsized off the island of Lampedusa. The tragedy jolted the EU and prompted Italy to beef up its Mediterranean sea patrols, which have rescued some 160,000 people this year alone.
“It was good, but we need more help,” said Smliva Zeregherghis, an Eritrean who was part of the delegation. His wife, Wine, was killed in the shipwreck as she attempted to join him in Britain, where he has been working as a manual laborer for six years.