Over 160 migrants drowned in shipwreck off Libya

The UN has said that 160 migrants have drowned in two separate shipwrecks off the Libyan coast in the past week

At least 160 migrants drowned in Mediterranean in one week: IOM

More than 160 migrants drowned in two separate shipwrecks off Libya over past week, a United Nations migration official said Tuesday. The fatalities were the latest disasters in the Mediterranean Sea involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe.

Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the International Organisation for Migration, said at least 102 migrants were reported dead after their wooden boat capsized off Libya on Friday. At least eight others were rescued and returned to shore, she said.

The second shipwreck took place Saturday. The Libyan coast guard retrieved at least 62 bodies of migrants, Msehli said. The same day, the coast guard intercepted a third wooden boat with at least 210 migrants on board, she said.

The new deaths have brought the tally in the central Mediterranean route to around 1,500 migrants drowned this year, Msehli said.

Around 31,500 migrants were intercepted and returned to Libya in 2021, compared to nearly 11,900 migrants the previous year, according to the IOM. Around 980 migrants were dead or presumed dead in 2020, the UN agency said.

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