- A ship carrying migrants sank off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday
- The UNHCR estimated that nearly 700 refugees have died in the incident
- Pope Francis called on citizens of host countries not to fear migrants as these persons are merely seeking help
Nearly 700 migrants are feared to have died after a ship sank off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on Friday while crossing towards Italy.
In an article written by Nick Squires for The Telegraph on May 29, 2016, it was disclosed that the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission (UNHCR), Save the Children Foundation and the Italian Navy are currently working together to conduct search and rescue operations within the area.
“We’ll never know the exact number, we’ll never know their identity, but survivors tell that over 500 human beings died,” said Carlotta Sami, spokesperson of the UNHCR.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis said on Saturday that citizens of host countries have nothing to fear about migrants since such people are not dangerous, but are actually the ones facing danger.
During a meeting with at least 400 school children from the south of Italy, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church reminded that those seeking refuge from other countries should not be avoided, but should be given help instead.
“Migrants are not a danger; they are in danger,” Francis said; asking the students to repeat his words for several times.
The supreme pontiff also called on the young audience to foster brotherhood among different persons despite one’s condition or status in life.
He even stressed the importance of awakening oneself from indifference towards others; citing the example presented by Jesus Christ in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Citing the Mediterranean shipwreck as an example, Francis shared how one Spanish rescuer gave him the lifevest of a girl whom the latter was unable to save.
“He brought me this life jacket and, crying a little bit, he said, ‘Father, I failed. There was a little girl in the sea and I wasn’t able to save her. All I could reach was her life jacket,” the pope narrated. “What was her name? I don’t know – a little girl without a name … She’s in heaven and watching us. Let’s close our eyes, think about her and give her a name.”