The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) announced that two shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean this week have claimed the lives of at least 20 people, including two children.
The IOM added that, a boat capsized off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, on Thursday afternoon. Fifteen survivors from Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria were rescued by fishermen and brought to shore. Among those missing and presumed dead are four Libyan nationals and one Moroccan.
“This is the second shipwreck this week following one on Monday off the coast of Libya that claimed at least 15 lives,” the IOM noted.
“The continued loss of life in the central Mediterranean that we have been reporting for years is directly related to the lack of comprehensive sea-rescue operations,” said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission.
“The absence of concrete action to address the gap in Search and Rescue (SaR) capacity in the world’s most dangerous sea crossing and ensure the timely disembarkation of those rescued at safe ports is unacceptable. More solidarity from all EU member states for countries receiving rescued migrants is also necessary.”
The IOM confirmed that at least 500 migrants have died so far this year in the Central Mediterranean.
“Over 430 Libyans attempted to cross to Italy this year, compared to some 240 during the same period of last year,” the organisation confirmed.