IOM: 15 Migrants Drown off Libyan Coast


On Sunday, Safa Msehli the Spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that at least 15 African migrants drowned off the Libyan coast after their boat capsized. She added that this is the second shipwreck involving migrant in just over a week.

In a statement, Msehli added that the victims were on a rubber boat carrying at least 110 migrants, who embarked from the Libyan coastal town of Zawiya on Friday. The boat started to sink early Sunday, and the Libyan Coast Guard managed to “rescue at least 95 migrants, including six women and two children,” she said.

Msehli said many of the survivors suffered from burns due to engine fuel, and hypothermia, with some taken to hospital. “It is an additional tragedy that in most cases, there is very little search to recover the bodies. The sight of bodies washing ashore later has sadly become too familiar,” she added.

Sunday’s shipwreck was the latest along the central Mediterranean migration route. At least 41 migrants were reported dead last week, part of a group of some 120 migrants on a dinghy that left the North African country on 18 February. Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous route.

Over the last several years, hundreds of thousands of migrants have reached Europe either on their own or after being rescued at sea. Thousands have drowned along the way. Many are intercepted and returned to Libya and left to the mercy of armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers that lack adequate food and water, according to rights groups.