At least 115 migrants drown off Libya’s coast

Migrants gathered after being rescued by Libyan coastguards. [Photo: Archive-Internet]
At least 115 migrants have gone missing and feared to have drowned and 134 others were rescued by Libyan coast guards and local fishermen after a wooden boat carrying migrants capsized off Libya.

The Libyan Navy spokesman Ayoub Qassim said local fishermen helped the coastguards recover the surviving migrants who were returned to Libya and provided with the necessary medical and humanitarian assistance.

Earlier, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said that up to 150 people were feared dead.

“The worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year has just occurred,” UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said in a tweet.

There were about 250 people on board, mainly from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan Africa and Arab countries, when the boat capsized off the coast near Al-Khums, east of the capital Tripoli, Qassim said.

“Until we address the reasons why people take these dangerous boat journeys, sadly, this is unlikely to be the last tragedy like this that we see,” he said.

Yaxley said survivors of the wreck were likely to be brought to two detention centers in Libya where they would face further risks, and he called for their immediate release.

“We know that inside these detention centers there’s insufficient food, water, often unsanitary conditions, there have been widespread reports of human rights violations taking place,” he said.

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