Boat Sinks in Mediterranean, and at Least 55 People Drown

Published: April 28, 2023

At least fifty-five folks drowned after their boat sank off the coast of Libya, the United Nations migration company mentioned on Wednesday, the newest in a collection of lethal accidents in only a few days involving migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

The rubber boat, carrying 60 folks, left Tuesday morning from Garabouli, a small city a number of dozen miles east of Tripoli, Libya’s capital, in line with the company, the International Organization for Migration. Only 5 survivors have been delivered to shore by the Libyan coast guard.

“This is a very high number of lives,” mentioned Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the group. “And these deaths have become normalized, as a matter of fact,” she added. “That is a very, very dangerous thing.”

Human rights organizations have for years protested the shortage of preventive search and rescue patrols by nations across the Mediterranean.

The newest catastrophe occurred shortly after the our bodies of dozens migrants, killed as their boats sank or capsized final week, washed ashore on the seashores of Sabratha, west of Tripoli. And on Monday, 33 folks died in 4 totally different accidents close to the Italian island of Lampedusa, in line with Flavio di Giacomo, a spokesman for the U.N. company.

In whole, 661 folks have died within the central Mediterranean this 12 months, he mentioned. The variety of deaths at sea contains individuals who went “missing” however after some hours are thought of useless.

After the dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi was toppled and killed in 2011, Libya descended into civil battle and its territory stays divided amongst warring factions. Amid the chaos of current years, it has change into a significant transit level to Europe for tens of hundreds of African migrants. With few pathways for authorized migration out there, many pay smugglers to assist them make the damaging sea crossing.

Ms. Msehli referred to as the scenario in Libya “extremely concerning,” with migrants throughout the nation who’re topic to kidnapping, abuse, arbitrary detention and exploitation by felony teams and trafficking networks. Then some depart on overcrowded rubber dinghies dealt with by smugglers, making the central Mediterranean the deadliest maritime route on the earth, in line with the company.

“That only signals the despair that people are facing possibly back home and the conditions that they’re facing in Libya,” she mentioned.

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