The Italian coast guard says some 4,000 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea in 22 separate operations in just one day on Thursday, May 26, 2016. Three boats of migrants capsized in as many days off the coast of Libya. The U.N. estimated a death toll of 550 from one capsized wooden fishing boat, raising the total for the year to more than 2,000. More than 700, including 40 children were estimated to have died in total in the past week.
Tens of thousands of desperate migrants have been leaving the lawless coast of Libya in decrepit smuggling boats, hoping to reach the shores of Italy's southern islands. Many of the boats sink or capsize, and hundreds drown each year along the journey.
Here, migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships Bettica and Bergamini off the coast of Libya, in a photo released May 25, 2016.
At least one of the survivors was brought off the Bettica on a stretcher. Others with their arms wrapped in gauze walked gingerly down the ramp into Porto Empedocle off Agrigento. Rescue workers carried children down.