Twenty-two bodies have been recovered from the Mediterranean, along with 209 survivors, in a naval rescue mission run by Doctors without Borders, the medical charity said on Thursday.
The head of the group in Italy, Dr Loris De Filippi, said that the migrants were intercepted on Wednesday while travelling in two dinghies.
Filippi said that there were 21 women and one man among the dead.
“Twenty-two people fleeing from violence and poverty died at sea trying to give a future to their children,’’ Filippi said, urging the European Union to open legal migration channels.
The Italian coastguard said in a separate statement that a total of 567 migrants were plucked from the sea on Wednesday in five separate rescue operations.
The coastguard said that the rescue also involved the Italian navy and the Maltese charity, MOAS.
Report says that the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimates 2,954 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since the start of the year.
“This compares with just fewer than 2,000 in January to July, 2015,’’IOM said.