Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024

More than 60 migrants dead off the coast of Libya

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In 2022, the International Organization for Migration count reported 529 dead and 848 missing in off Libya.

Associated Press

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A ship carrying dozens of Migrants trying to reach Europe capsized off the coast of Libya, killing more than 60 people, including women and children, the United Nations-linked International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

Saturday's shipwreck is the latest tragedy in this part of the Mediterranean Sea, a key but dangerous trajectory for migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Thousands of people died there, according to authorities.

The IOM said the boat was carrying 86 migrants when strong waves overturned it off the town of Zuwara, on the west coast of Libya, and that 61 migrants drowned, according to survivors' testimonies.

The central Mediterranean continues to be one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world, the agency wrote. UN on the social networkAlarm Phone, a hotline for migrants in distress, said in a tweet that some migrants on board contacted the group of volunteers who, in turn, alerted authorities, including the coast guard. Libyans who declared that they would not look for them.

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A spokesperson for the Libyan coast guard was not immediately available for comment.

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Migrants hope to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.

Libya has in recent years become the main transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East, although the country x27;North Africa was plunged into chaos following an uprising that toppled and cost the life of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

More than 2,250 people have died on the roads in Central Europe this year, according to IOM spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo.

This is a dramatic figure which demonstrates that unfortunately not enough is being done to save lives at sea, he said. -he declared in a message on social network X.

According to an IOM census of missing migrants, at least 940 migrants were reported dead and 1,248 missing off the coast of Libya between January 1 and November 18.

Verification tracking migration movements showed that around 14,900 migrants, including more than 1,000 women and more than 530 children, were intercepted and returned to Libya this year.

In 2022, the IOM count reported 529 deaths and 848 missing off the coast of Libya. More than 24,600 people were intercepted and returned to Libya.

In recent years, human traffickers have benefited from the chaos in Libya, the passage of illegal migrants across the country's long borders , which they share with six countries.

Migrants are packed onto poorly equipped vessels, including rubber dinghies, and set off on risky sea journeys.

Those who are intercepted and returned to Libya are held in government-run detention centers, where widespread abuses, such as forced labor, rape and torture, are rife .

The abuse often accompanies attempts to extort money from the families of imprisoned migrants before allowing them to leave Libya on traffickers' boats to Europe.

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