UN says 41 Europe-bound migrants fleeing Libya drown in Mediterranean

A minimum of 41 individuals drowned over the weekend when their boat capsized within the Central Mediterranean, the UN stated on Wednesday, the newest shipwreck involving migrants fleeing conflict-stricken Libya and looking for higher life in Europe.

The UN migration and refugee businesses stated in a joint assertion that the lifeless have been amongst at the very least 120 migrants on a dinghy that left Libya on Feb. 18. The shipwreck came about two days later, it stated.

A business vessel rescued the survivors and took them to the Sicilian port city of Porto Empedocle in Italy, they added.

The tragedy began when the dinghy took on water about 15 hours after the migrants launched into their perilous voyage, the UNHCR stated, citing testimonies from survivors. Inside hours, at the very least six individuals fell into the ocean and perished, and two others drowned whereas trying to swim to a ship noticed within the distance.

Later, the business vessel Vos Triton arrived, and tried to rescue survivors in what the UNHCR described as a “difficult and delicate operation.” Many others died during the rescue operation, it said.

Only one body was recovered, and the missing included three children and four women, one of whom left behind a newborn baby who made it to Lampedusa., it said.

The shipwreck was the latest along the Central Mediterranean migration route, where about 160 Europe-bound migrants have died since the beginning of 2021, the UN agencies said.

In the years since the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, war-torn Libya has emerged as the dominant transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

Smugglers often pack desperate families into ill-equipped rubber boats that stall and founder along the perilous Central Mediterranean route. Over the last several years, hundreds of thousands of migrants have reached Italy either on their own or after being rescued at sea.

Thousands have drowned along the way. Others were intercepted and returned to Libya to fall “victim to unspeakable brutality at the hands of traffickers and militias,” the UN refugee company stated.

Earlier this week, the UN migration company stated round 3,600 have been returned to the North African nation because the starting of 2021.

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