Memorial service in Cardiff Bay to remember recent Mediterranean boat tragedies

Migrants cling to a fence at a temporary camp in the Italian island of Lampedusa, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. A ship carrying African migrants toward Italy caught fire and capsized off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa Thursday, spilling hundreds of passengers into the sea, officials said. The scope of the tragedy at Lampedusa, with 111 bodies recovered so far, 155 people rescued and up to an estimated 250 still missing, according to officials, prompted outpourings of grief and demands for a comprehensive European Union immigration policy to deal with the tens of thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and strife in Africa and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Members of the Eritrean and Ethiopian communities in Cardiff will be gathering on Saturday 26 October to remember those that have lost their lives recently crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Over 300 Eritreans and others died when the ship carrying them sunk off the coast of Lampedusa on October 3. Over 300 were rescued from the waters and are being cared for on the islands of Lampedusa and Malta.

Hundreds of migrants from Africa and Syria are now landing on these islands in a bid to start new lives in Europe. Many are families fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, hoping for a better life in Europe.

Cardiff, Swansea and Newport are home to sizeable communities of Ethiopians and Eritreans and the memorial service - at 6pm - will bring together refugees along with Welsh people wanting to show solidarity and support. The service will be held outside the Lightship in Cardiff Bay.

Jim Stewart of Evangelical Alliance Wales and also secretary of Cardiff City of Sanctuary said, "We need to remember that the people who died were fleeing persecution. We want to empathise with people from our communities who are experiencing unimaginable pain at this time."

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Candles will be lit at the end of the service to remember those who have died.

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