Lampedusa is a small, idyllic Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. It's also "the door to Europe" for migrantsheaded north from nearby Africa.
Tiny Lampedusa, situated in the Mediterranean between Sicily and northern Africa, was a landing place and maritime base for the ancient Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans. More recently, hundreds of thousands of African and Syrian asylum seekers have crossed the sea on often rickety boats on this deadliest of all refugee routes, hoping for sanctuary in Europe. Thousands have died en route. Lampedusa - with its often overcrowded temporary immigrant reception centre and thousands of hospitable residents - has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize more than once. "Fire at Sea," an Italian documentary film about the migrant crisis, was filmed on Lampedusa and won the coveted Golden Bear award at the 2106 Berlinale Berlin film Festival.
In total, more than 300 people are feared dead after the crowded migrant boats they were traveling in struck trouble in the Mediterranean. The EU's scaling back of border patrols has been blamed for the latest tragedy.