Dramatic day in Mediterranean: More than 2000 migrants rescued at sea

(CNN) - Italian authorities were still bringing migrants and refugees to shore Monday after one of the busiest weekends ever for rescue services operating in the central Mediterranean sea.

An Italian coast guard spokesman said 19 rescue operations by the coast guard or ships operated by non-governmental organisations had saved a total of 2,074 migrants on 16 rubber dinghies and three small wooden boats.

Frontex has been contacted for comment.

Two of the charity ships, each filled beyond capacity after rescuing scores of migrants from rubber dinghies and unseaworthy wooden fishing vessels, made May Day calls to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center run by the Italian Coast Guard in Rome to ask for assistance on Sunday. "We are where we're needed, what's the European Union doing meanwhile?"

Those frustrations are echoed by the other NGOs, with numerous rescue operators tweeting accusations directly against the European Union and Frontex.

Jugend Rette, a German NGO involved in the rescuing of migrants, told AFP that good spring weather has led to increased numbers of people attempting the unsafe crossing in recent days, Deutsche Welle reports.

In all, Italy's coast guard coordinated about 20 separate rescues on Friday.

Sami said the weekend's work had a frenetic pace, to the point where some humanitarian agents involved in the rescues worked for 40 hours straight.

Officials in northern France say an operation to shelter more than 1,000 migrants has ended, five days after the camp they were staying in outside the port city of Dunkirk burned down. Some 97 migrants are missing in that incident.

The migrants, most looking to cross the English Channel to Britain, were without shelter after a fire ravaged the wooden shelters of the Grande-Synthe camp, opened a year ago by Doctors Without Borders.

A Somali migrant carries her 12-day-old baby on board a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. One man was found dead on one of the rafts. "We are just lucky we got out of Libya alive".

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