New deaths in Mediterranean migrant crisis
At least 37 people drowned off Libya’s coast in the second such fatal accident in days
A boat carrying migrants sank off Libya’s Mediterranean coast, killing at least 37 people, a local official said on Sunday, the second such fatal accident within days.
“We had reports this morning that there are seven bodies of illegal migrants that sank off Khoms (east of Tripoli)...but we don’t have any details how many migrants were on board,” said Mohamad al-Misrati, a spokesman for the Red Crescent in Tripoli.
Fishermen later discovered 30 more bodies in the same area near Khoms, a town some 100 km east of the capital, he said. Volunteers of the Red Crescent were trying to recover the dead but were lacking boats.
No more details were immediately available.
On Thursday, a vessel packed with migrants hoping to make it from Libya to Italy sank in waters off the Libyan town of Zuwara, killing up to 200 people.
Lawless Libya has turned into a major transit route for migrants fleeing conflict and poverty by boat to Europe.
Smugglers exploit the country’s chaos to bring Syrians into Libya via Egypt or nationals of sub-Saharan countries via Niger, Sudan and Chad.
The migrants pay thousands of dollars for the land and sea passage with smugglers often beating and torturing them to press for more money for the final leg of the trip by sea in unseaworthy vessels, rights groups say.
Libya has asked the European Union for help to train and equip its navy which was largely destroyed during the uprising in 2011 that toppled Muammar Qaddafi.
But all training and cooperation was frozen in 2014 as the EU boycotted a self-declared government controlling western Libya, which seized the capital Tripoli a year ago by expelling the official premier to the east.
The number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe has passed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 in the whole of 2014, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.
More than 2,500 people have died making the crossing this year, not including those feared drowned off Libya in the last 24 hours, it said. That compares with 3,500 who died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2014.
Mediterranean migrant crossings top 300,000 in 2015The numbers tower high above arrivals in 2014, when some 219,000 made the crossing over the entire year Middle East
Children found in Austria migrant truck hospitalizedThe vehicle, pulled over by police after a chase, contained 26 ‘illegal foreigners’ from Syria, Bangladesh and Afghanistan World News
‘I stopped counting’: doctor on discovering migrant boat deadThe 56-year-old doctor was on a mission with Doctors Without Borders on the Phoenix Features
Hungary says anti-migrant barrier along Serb border completeHungary has this year intercepted more than 140,000 migrants entering from Serbia World News
Libya recovers 105 bodies as migrant boat sinksThe migrants on board had been from sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco and Bangladesh Africa
More than 70 dead in Austrian migrant truck tragedyThe number was confirmed by interior ministry spokesman Alexander Marakovits World News
Lorry of migrant corpses intensifies Europe’s crisisAs many as 50 corpses were found in a parked truck in Austria on Thursday, and another migrant boat sank off Libya, deepening a crisis that is ... Reports
Refugee wave into hotspot Hungary hits new record highSome 3,241 migrants, including almost 700 children, arrived in Hungary on Wednesday, the highest ever number World News