More than 200 migrants aboard two boats in distress have been rescued by Maltese authorities.

More than 200 migrants aboard two boats in distress have been rescued by Maltese authorities.

The boats containing 216 men, women and children were rescued on Friday night by the Armed Forces of Malta.

They will be examined by doctors and given the chance to seek asylum.

One of the women is reportedly pregnant.

An Armed Forces of Malta spokesman said a patrol boat had been deployed to a sinking rubber dinghy south of the island.

After picking up the migrants, it was diverted to a second dinghy while on its way to Malta, picking up those migrants as well.

Officials say good weather had prompted at least 12 boats to cross the Mediterranean in the past two days.

They came from Libya, Tunisia and Algeria and were headed to Sicily, Sardinia and the small island of Lampedusa, which is closer to Africa than to mainland Italy.

A further 390 people have arrived this year in Malta, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

The organisation says 1,445 migrants arrived in Malta last year.

People make the dangerous journeys to Europe in hope for a better life, often fleeing war and poverty.

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