World News

100 migrants still missing after boat capsizes in Mediterranean Sea

100 migrants still missing after boat capsizes in Mediterranean Sea

In the latest, and third deadliest, shipwreck in the Mediterranean since Saturday, the Libyan Coast Guard rescued three rubber boats with 279 migrants made up of 19 women, 243 men, 13 boys and four girls, in an operation lasting at least 12 hours.

The IOM reported on Friday that 171,635 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, down from 363,504 arrivals past year.

It seems that the missing migrants were all inside the same boat. Its remnants were found off the western city of Khoms, the navy said.

The migrants were making their way to Eastern Europe on several overcrowded boats via the Mediterranean Sea when the boats capsized. The rescued migrants were handed over to the local immigration authority.

"It's very distressing that during the first 10 days of 2018 we have seen close to 800 migrants rescued or intercepted off the Libyan coast, with more lives lost at sea".

Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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IOM's Christine Petré reported that the boats departed from the coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums - with most of the survivors hailing from African countries, including Senegal, Mali and Nigeria.

Libyan authorities, pressured by Italy, which gets the lion share of migrants, have recently stepped up efforts to stem their flow into Europe.

The massive number of migrants across the Mediterranean over the past few years prompted the European Union to adopt measures to address the situation, including training and equipping Libya's coast guard to stop boats attempting the risky sea crossing.

But rights groups fear that the measures could also leave tens of thousands of migrants stranded in restive Libya. The high death toll is most likely due to the smugglers packing as many people as possible onto the poor-quality boats.

The International Organization of Migration estimates that over 171,300 migrants entered Europe in 2017, compared to a little over 363,500 in 2016.


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