Libya: At the very least 74 migrants drown after boat capsizes off coast of al-Khums, says UN

The incident on Thursday is the newest in a sequence of no less than eight shipwrecks within the Mediterranean sea since 1 October, mentioned UN’s Worldwide Organisation for Migration

Libya: At least 74 migrants drown after boat capsizes off coast of al-Khums, says UN

Refugees and migrants wait to be rescued by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after leaving Libya attempting to achieve European soil aboard an overcrowded rubber boat within the Mediterranean sea, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. The Open Arms rescue ship had been looking for the boat in misery for hours earlier than lastly discovering it Wednesday morning in worldwide waters north of Libya. The NGO had simply completed distributing life vests and masks to the passengers to start transferring them to security when the flimsy boat break up in half throwing them into chilly waters. (AP Photograph/Sergi Camara)

Tripoli: At the very least 74 migrants died in a “devastating” shipwreck on Thursday off the Libyan coast, the United Nations mentioned, the newest in a spate of migrant vessel sinkings within the central Mediterranean.

This yr has seen a resurgence of boats within the central Mediterranean, a well-trodden however usually lethal route for these hoping to journey to Europe, primarily embarking from Libya and neighbouring Tunisia.

The UN’s Worldwide Group for Migration reported “a devastating shipwreck which claimed the lives of no less than 74 migrants at this time off the coast of Khoms,” in an announcement, including that the coastguard and fishermen had been looking for survivors.

Khoms is a port metropolis 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

The IOM referred to as it the newest catastrophe in a “sequence of tragedies” involving no less than eight different shipwrecks within the Mediterranean sea because the begin of October.

“The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 folks, amongst them ladies and youngsters,” the IOM mentioned, including that 47 survivors had been introduced again to shore and 31 our bodies retrieved.

The IOM mentioned that previously two days, no less than 19 different folks, together with two kids, drowned after two boats capsized within the central Mediterranean.

Greater than 20,000 migrants have died within the final seven years, in accordance with the UN refugee company.

Human traffickers have taken benefit of persistent violence in Libya because the 2011 fall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, turning the nation right into a key hall for migrants fleeing conflict and poverty in determined bids to achieve Europe.

Whereas many have drowned at sea, 1000’s have been intercepted by the Libyan coast guard, which has been backed by Italy and the EU, and returned to Libya.

They principally find yourself in detention, usually in horrific circumstances.

‘Unworkable method’

Rights teams have denounced the coverage, and the IOM has campaigned to finish returns to the North African nation, 300 kilometres (185 miles) from the Italian coast.

“The mounting lack of life within the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the shortcoming of states to take decisive motion to redeploy much-needed, devoted search and rescue capability within the deadliest sea-crossing on the planet,” mentioned Federico Soda, the IOM’s Libya mission chief.

“We have now lengthy referred to as for a change within the evidently unworkable method to Libya and the Mediterranean, together with ending returns to the nation and establishing a transparent disembarkation mechanism adopted by solidarity from different states.

“1000’s of susceptible folks proceed to pay the value for inaction each at sea and on land.”

The newest shipwreck comes as Libyans had been hammering out Thursday in Tunisia the powers of a proposed transitional authorities in UN-led talks aimed toward ending a brutal decade-old battle.

Since Kadhafi’s ouster and killing, oil-rich Libya has been gripped by chaos and violence, with rival administrations within the east and the west vying for management of the nation.

The political talks in Tunisia comply with a ceasefire deal struck in October, and are available as navy talks, additionally led by the UN, had been underway in Sirte, Kadhafi’s hometown.

The IOM mentioned that up to now this yr, no less than 900 folks had drowned within the Mediterranean attempting to achieve European shores – some as a result of delays in rescue.

Greater than 11,000 others have been returned to Libya, it mentioned, “placing them prone to going through human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking and exploitation”.

The IOM mentioned it had recorded a latest upsurge in departures from Libya, with some 1,900 being intercepted and returned, and greater than 780 arrivals in Italy from Libya because the begin of October.

The humanitarian ship Open Arms rescued round 100 migrants on Wednesday when their boat capsized, killing 5 folks aboard, the charity that operates it mentioned.

The humanitarian vessel is the one one working within the Mediterranean proper now, with others run by non-governmental teams held for numerous causes in Italian ports.


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