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Sat, 25 Jan 2020 12:10 GMT

UN: 40 Migrants Feared to Have Drowned off Libyan Coast


7Dnews London

Wed, 28 Aug 2019 20:08 GMT

A boat with dozens of migrants on board capsized on Tuesday, August 27th, in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya. At least 40 people are missing or presumed drowned, United Nations (UN) officials said.

The UN officials said a support group received a call from someone on the vessel "crying and shouting" that passengers had died already.

Ayoub Gassim, a spokesman for Libya's coast guard, said that at least 65 migrants, mostly from Sudan, were rescued, but many are still missing. Gassim gave a lower estimate for those missing and feared drowned, saying it was 15 to 20 people.

According to AP, five people have died, including a woman and a child from Morocco, whose bodies were recovered near the western town of Khoms, east of Tripoli.

Tuesday's tragedy was the latest maritime disaster involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

The UN Migration Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration published a statement in July urging changes for the international approach to refugees and migrants in Libya.

The statement referenced the airstrike on the Tajoura Detention centre the week before, but many more incidents have occurred since.

The agencies explained that an appeal was issued to the European Union and African Union to prevent such tragedies from happening again, urging the international community to consider the protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees as a core element of any engagements in Libya.

"If today's tragic numbers are confirmed, the number of people drowned in the Mediterranean in 2019 will have reached close to 900," said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, after this last report.

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