More than 70 dead in shipwreck off Libya: UN

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Thursday reported a devastating shipwreck that took the lives of at least 74 migrants off the coast of Al-Khums, Libya, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

The IOM said Thursday’s sinking was the latest in a series of tragedies involving at least eight other shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean since Oct. 1

The vessel was reported to be carrying over 120 people, including women and children.

Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen, and 31 bodies have been retrieved while search for victims continues.

“The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action to redeploy much needed, dedicated Search and Rescue capacity in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world,” the IOM quoted its chief of mission in Libya Federico Soda as saying. 

In the past two days, at least 19 people, including two children, drowned after two boats capsized in the Central Mediterranean.

The IOM also said that the vessel Open Arms – the only NGO ship currently operating on this route – rescued more than 200 people in three operations.

“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 mechanism followed by solidarity from other states,” said Soda.

He also said thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction both at sea and on land.

This year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, some due to delays in rescue.

More than 11,000 others have been returned to Libya, putting them at risk of facing human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking, and exploitation, as documented by the UN.