IOM: There are 662.000 migrants in Libya this year

Some of the migrants stand in a queue in Zuwara, waiting for their turn to receive emergency relief from IOM Libya staff. [Photo: IOMLibya/Eshaebi2017]
The number of migrants in Libya’s overcrowded detention centres has almost doubled over the past three months, according to the UN’s migration agency.

Amid a crackdown on Mediterranean crossings by the Italy and EU-backed Libyan coastguard, the number of people being held has swollen from 5,000 to 9,300, with thousands more at the mercy of smugglers in charge of unofficial detention facilities, the International Organization for Migration(IOM) said.

he IOM estimates there are 662,000 migrants in Libya this year – up roughly 40,000 from 2017 – 10% of whom are minors (more than half unaccompanied). There are also 179,400 internally displaced people inside the country.

The IOM said on Tuesday that the number of migrants and refugees who have arrived in Spain by sea this year has overtaken those who have reached Italy. A total of 18,016 migrants arrived in Spain up to July 15, while 17,827 people landed in Italy during the same period.

The overall number of migrants and refugees entering Europe by sea this year totals 50,872, less than half the 109,746 who came in by mid-July last year, the agency said. In the same period in 2016, 241,859 migrants came to Europe.

The IOM has estimated that 1,443 people have died or gone missing in the dangerous Mediterranean route up to July 15 this year.

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