Rescuers help migrants to board the Italian Navy ship Vega, after the boat they were aboard sunk on Saturday. Photo / AP
A doctor on a tiny island off Sicily is hoping a 9-month-old Nigerian girl, who lost her mother at sea, will change opinions regarding migrants.
Dr Pietro Bartolo cared for the baby girl, named Favour, last Friday in the first hours after she and other migrants were rescued from a smugglers’ boat.
Authorities say the girl’s pregnant mother suffered burns on the boat and died at sea.
Bartolo told AP that “thousands of requests” to adopt the girl have come in.
Nothing is apparently known about her father.
The child will first be placed in foster care.
The doctor says the child “seemed like an adult with her pains and adversities.”
Migrants rescued from two boats in the Mediterranean have told humanitarian workers in Italy
they saw another vessel carrying some 400 migrants sink, Save the Children says.Bartolo was featured in the award-winning Gianfranco Rosi film Fire at Sea
about Lampedusa’s people who have welcomed rescued migrants for years.
Three vessels carrying migrants already are confirmed to have sunk or capsized this past week.
More than 60 bodies are said to have been recovered, including those of three infants, and hundreds are believed to be missing.
Dr Pietro Bartolo in Lampedusa. Photo / AP
But the possible sinking of a fourth vessel on Friday had not been reported, said Giovanna Di Benedetto, spokeswoman for Save the Children in Italy.
That ship along with another fishing boat and a rubber boat left Sabratha in Libya on Thursday, according to interviews with some of the more than 600 survivors from the two other vessels in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo.
They said the rubber boat had its own motor, but the smaller fishing boat, carrying some 400 migrants, did not. It was towed by the larger fishing vessel, which held about 500 others.
Mild weather has brought on a surge in migrant traffic between Libya and Italy, and about 700 more migrants were picked up today, the coast guard said.