Tuesday, 1 September 2015

At least 37 migrants feared dead in Libya shipwreck

At least 37 migrants are thought to have died following a weekend shipwreck off the Libyan coast, the Libyan Red Cross said Monday, capping a month during which more than 400 migrants died on what has become the world’s deadliest people-smuggling route.

If confirmed, Sunday’s disaster would be the third sinking in four days in the waters off the North African country.

On Thursday, Libyan officials said 150 bodies had been recovered from two sunken boats off the coast. Three men were arrested, accused of running the smuggling operation that launched the doomed vessels.

Mohamad Al Misrati, a spokesman for the Red Crescent in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, said seven bodies were discovered floating Sunday near the port of Khoms, a town about 60 miles east of the capital. Hours later, he said, fishermen found another 30 bodies in the water.

Mr. Misrati said his organization, the Libyan arm of the International Federation of the Red Cross, was working with the country’s coast guard to verify the number and identities of the victims.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people were on the boat, which has yet to be located.

In August alone, about 18,000 migrants have reached Italy from Libya. But more than 2,400 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean so far this year, the International Organization for Migration said, up from 2,081 for the same period in 2014.

Political chaos and an economic collapse have engulfed Libya since the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The ensuing security vacuum has facilitated a people-smuggling trade that has flourished along the Libyan coast, making it the gateway to Europe for migrants from the Middle East and sub-saharan Africa.

Tuesday 1 September 2015



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