Twenty migrants drown in Libya shipwreck, fourth accident this week

By Emma Farge GENEVA (Reuters) - Twenty African migrants are believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya when their boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, while more bodies washed ashore on Libyan beaches on Friday from a shipwreck earlier this week. The latest shipwreck, a wooden boat that left from Surman in western Libya, is the fourth this week and brings the total death toll to more than 100 people, an International Organization for Migration spokeswoman said

Reuters November 14, 2020 00:11:18 IST
Twenty migrants drown in Libya shipwreck, fourth accident this week

Twenty migrants drown in Libya shipwreck fourth accident this week

By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) - Twenty African migrants are believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya when their boat sank as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, while more bodies washed ashore on Libyan beaches on Friday from a shipwreck earlier this week.

The latest shipwreck, a wooden boat that left from Surman in western Libya, is the fourth this week and brings the total death toll to more than 100 people, an International Organization for Migration spokeswoman said.

Some of the survivors were from Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Burkina Faso.

​ Elsa Laino of Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) said three women had been rescued by local fishermen and were in a state of trauma.

"They saw their family and relatives die in front of them and now they are left alone in a country that is not safe," she told Reuters.

Aid workers say that worsening treatment of sub-Saharan African migrants in Libya as well as relatively calm seas may have prompted the flurry of departures. Thousands of migrants leave sub-Saharan Africa every year on a perilous journey to Europe as they seek to escape conflict and poverty.

Earlier this week, coastguards and Spanish charity Open Arms were involved in two other rescues where several migrants drowned. A video by Open Arms showed a Guinean mother crying out for her six-month-old baby who died in one of the wrecks.

On Thursday, a rubber dinghy crammed with more than 120 people aboard that had left from the town of Khums capsized.

"Staff in the region reported that more bodies continued to wash ashore overnight," IOM spokeswoman Safa Msehli told a briefing in Geneva.

Fisherman and the coast guard had earlier recovered 31 bodies from the first wreck, including a toddler.

IOM Chief of Staff Eugenio Ambrosi sent a Tweet on Friday showing a picture of a tattered lifejacket which washed up on a Libyan beach.

"Dusk of humanity," he said, in an apparent commentary on the insufficient efforts to prevent the loss of life.

Survivors are being held in the city of Khums, Msehli said, calling on authorities to release them and provide protection to prevent them falling into the hands of smugglers and traffickers.

"The worsening humanitarian conditions of migrants detained in overcrowded centres, widespread arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, and extortion and abuse are alarming," she said.

MSF's Laino said the lack of search and rescue teams in the Mediterranean was contributing to the high death toll.

More than 900 people have died this year attempting the Mediterranean crossing to reach Europe. Thousands more have been stopped at sea and returned to Libya where they are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.