Shortly after dawn, an open blue wooden fishing boat from Libya limped its way into the port of this tiny island, crammed with at least 166 shivering passengers, all of them apparently migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited a small Mediterranean island Saturday to press home his message that European countries must help deal with a "human tsunami" of North African migrants.
An estimated 100 or more would-be North African migrants remained missing Wednesday, a day after the boat they were in capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, officials said. The incident is the latest of a number of tragic ends in what has become a steady flow of people who set sail from Tunisia to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
A group of men gather to say prayers over the graves of two friends in the rural town of Sedouikech. They say the men died together when the boat they hoped would help them escape to Europe overturned and sank after a collision with a Tunisian coastguard patrol boat.
Southern Italy is facing a potential "humanitarian emergency" as waves of Tunisians fleeing unrest in north Africa are landing on a coastal island near Sicily, the country's official ANSA news agency reported Sunday.
Desperation, sophisticated smuggling operations and the emergence of a small Italian island as a migrant destination provide the sad backdrop to Monday's tragedy on the Mediterranean Sea -- the capsizing of a boat carrying African migrants from Libya to Italy.