More than 200 people are feared dead on the southern Italian Island of Lampedusa.
More than 200 migrants are missing after their overcrowded dinghies sank in the Mediterranean with warning signals indicating that the final toll from the latest boat tragedy could be much higher.
A total of three inflatable boats with refugees had been on the road since the beginning of the week. On a froze to death at the beginning of week 29. On two other boats were a total of more than 210 people.
"Of these, only nine survived," said UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami. "There are nine and they were rescued after four days at sea. The other 203 has swallowed the sea. "It was a" terrible and tremendous tragedy. "
The nine survivors arrived on Wednesday morning, the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa. They speak French and are believed to date from West Africa.
The southern Italian island of Lampedusa has become a symbol of refugee crises in the Mediterranean after two shipwrecks with more than 350 dead October 2013.
Thereafter, Italy was called the rescue mission "Mare Nostrum" to life, which brought thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean in security in the following months.
This was replaced last year by the EU Border Assistance Mission "Triton". The UN refugee agency criticized the program again as inadequate.