Boat capsized off Libya’s coast, two dozen refugees presumed dead
At least 24 people are believed to have drowned as a rubber dinghy carrying refugees and migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya. The U.N. migration agency informed Tuesday that at least three boats were trying to cross from Libya to Europe carrying dozens of migrants and were intercepted by the Libyan coast guard on Monday.
Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration told, the boats were departed from Libya’s Zawiyah on Sunday night. She informed that two bodies were retrieved by the coast guard and 22 others were missing and presumed dead. Coast guard has rescued 45 migrants from the other two boats. The survivors are taken to a detention center in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Most of the migrants were from Egypt and Morocco and all of them were men, Msehli said.
In this region, hundreds of migrants die each year in maritime disaster as refugees from Africa and Arab continue to flee in an expectation of a better life in Europe.
According to the International Migrants Project, this year alone, more than 560 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean. Last month, in a similar incident at least 45 people were drowned and presumed dead. It terms of the number of fatalities, this was the largest shipwreck off the coast of North Africa.
Boat capsized off Libya’s coast
Since the uprising of 2011 and the killing of their longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is in a state of chaos. The crisis turned the country into a major transit point for the refugees from African and Arabian countries. Thousands of people each year try to flee to Europe to escape war and poverty, but more often than not, the journey itself proves to be dangerous for them as they try to cross the sea in ill-equipped rubber boats, the only transportation they have in their disposal.
This year March, the International Organization for Migration estimated, since 2014, more than 20,000 refugees have been killed in the maritime disaster while trying to cross the Mediterranean.
While briefing the incident to the press on Tuesday, Msehil said, “This new tragedy signals yet again the need for increased search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean. Instead, we are seeing restrictions on NGOs and long, unnecessary stand-offs”.