Tuesday, 6 October 2015

85 dead migrants found washed up in Libya, 2 children in Kos

The bodies of 85 migrants have been found washed up on the coast of Libya, a major departure point for the sea crossing to Europe, the Red Crescent said Monday. Since Tuesday, volunteers have recovered dozens of bodies of migrants in an advanced stage of decomposition on beaches near the capital, spokesman Mohamed al-Misrati said.

They found 75 bodies around Tripoli and another 10 in Sabratah, 70 kilometres (43 miles) to the west, he said.

The Libyan coastguard said it had also rescued 212 migrants from two overloaded rubber dinghies off the Libyan coast.

“We were informed of the presence of two large zodiacs off the coast of Garabulli” 60 kilometres east of Tripoli, a coastguard officer told AFP.

He said that 22 women were among the rescued migrants, who were of different nationalities including many Senegalese and Sudanese.

A Libyan Red-Crescent team, in collaboration with the Libyan navy, on Friday recovered 26 bodies of illegal migrants off the coasts of Tajoura, in the eastern suburb of Tripoli.

“The Red-Crescent team recovered 26 bodies that are supposed to be those of illegal migrants found off the coasts of the region of Tajoura.

“The bodies were transferred to the morgue of the medical centre in Tripoli,’’ the Director of Information at the Red-Crescent, Malek Marsait, said.

According to him, the Libyan Red-Crescent team had earlier on Wednesday recovered the bodies of three others at the same place, despite the difficult access to the place.

Libya, with a coastline of 1,770 kilometres, has for years been a stepping stone for Africans bound for Europe. Most head for Italy’s Lampedusa island which is 300 kilometres from Libya.

People smugglers have taken advantage of chaos in Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi to step up their lucrative business. In exchange for steep fees, they take would-be migrants on board rickety boats for the treacherous crossing.

About 515,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean this year alone, with up to 3,000 people dead or reported missing in that period, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Meanwhile, the badly decomposed bodies of two children were found washed up on the Greek island of Kos, the latest victims of a crisis that has seen 630,000 people enter the EU illegally this year.

A dead baby boy, thought to be less than a year old, was discovered on a hotel beach early Sunday, dressed in green trousers and a white t-shirt. The decomposed body of an older child, wearing blue trousers and a pink t-shirt, believed to be three- to five-years old, was found hours later at the same spot. Authorities believe the children were from migrant families that had been trying to reach Kos by dinghy, Greek media reported.

Both bodies have been transferred to hospital for an autopsy and DNA testing. Greece has been struggling to cope with a wave of migrants making the dangerous crossing from Turkey.

The EU’s border chief Fabrice Leggeri said 630,000 people have entered the bloc illegally this year. Brussels and Ankara are reportedly set to approve Monday a plan that would see Turkey join Greek coastguard patrols in the eastern Aegean, coordinated by EU border protection agency Frontex.

Tuesday 6 October 2015



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