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Libya boat disaster death toll climbs to 119: Officials

Libya boat disaster death toll climbs
Local authorities find bodies of at least 119 would-be migrants who appear to have drowned while trying to make it to Europe

The death toll has risen to 119 due to the capsizing Friday of two boats carrying illegal migrants after the Libyan Coast Guard discovered 39 additional bodies, local authorities said Sunday.

On Friday, Libyan authorities discovered the bodies of at least 80 drowned African and Middle Eastern migrants in the water off the coast of the western city of Zuwara.

According to Zuwara City Council spokesman Hafiz Muammer, however, this number was revised upwards Sunday after authorities pulled another 39 bodies from the water.

Muammer added, however, that another 198 would-be migrants — who had also been aboard the ill-fated vessels — had been rescued.

According to the Libyan Red Crescent, a search remains ongoing for additional bodies and survivors.

Libyan officials, meanwhile, continue to express grave concern about the steadily rising numbers of death-at-sea off the Libyan coast due to illegal attempts at migration.

In the first six months of this year alone, more than 2,350 would-be migrants and/or refugees have died off the country’s coast while trying to reach the shores of Europe.

This number stood at 2,081 for the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Yet despite these grim statistics, so far this year, more than 255,000 migrants and refugees have successfully made the voyage to Europe by sea, the IOM says.

Of these, nearly 100,000 came from war-torn Syria, more than 25,000 from Eritrea, and some 32,000 from violence-wrecked Afghanistan, according to IOM figures.

 Neydek
Times of Turkey

Times of Turkey

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