74 Migrants Drown Off Libya Coast

At least 74 migrants have died in another disaster in waters off the coast of Libya, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Thursday.

The latest incident off the coast of Khums, Libya is the eighth such incident since the beginning of October.

Officials of the UN’s International Organisation for Migration said a boat carrying more than 120 people had foundered. There were children among the passengers.

Forty-seven survivors have been brought ashore by fishermen and the Libyan coastguard. Thirty-one bodies have been retrieved. A search is continuing.

In the past two days at least 19 people, including two children drowned after two boats capsized in the same area of the Mediterranean, while the vessel ‘Open Arms’, which is the only NGO ship currently operating on the route, rescued more than 200 in three separate operations.

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“The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action, to redeploy much needed, dedication search-and-rescue capacity, in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world”, said Fredrico Soda, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Libya.

“We have long called for a change in the evidently unworkable approach to Libya and the Mediterranean, including ending returns to the country and establishing a clear disembarkation mechaism, followed by solidarity from other states. Thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction, both at sea, and on land.”

So far this year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, some due to delays in rescue, said IOM.

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More than 11,000 others have been returned to Libya, putting them at risk of facing human rights violation, detentions, abuse, trafficking and exploitation – all well-documented by the UN.

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