- Title: UNHCR says at least 40 feared dead or missing in shipwreck off Libya
- Date: 27th August 2019
- Summary: KHOMS, LIBYA (AUGUST 27, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DEAD BODIES WRAPPED IN BLANKETS ON GROUND VARIOUS OF FEET POKING OUT OF BLANKETS MORE OF DEAD BODIES WRAPPED IN BLANKETS ON THE GROUND HAND OF DECEASED SEEN THROUGH BLANKET GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (AUGUST 27, 2019) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR) BUILDING UNHCR SPOKESMAN, CHARLIE YAXLEY TALKING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR) SPOKESMAN, CHARLIE YAXLEY, SAYING: "Well today, we are seeing the latest tragedy on the Mediterranean Sea. Since this morning, a rescue operation has been underway, the Libyan coast guard and local fishermen have rescued some 60 people from the water. Many of them are from Sudan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. The UNHCR team is on the ground providing them with assistance and from what we have heard, we estimate that at least 40 people may have drowned at sea and this comes just weeks after 150 people lost their lives off the coast of Libya in what was the largest shipwreck of 2019." KHOMS, LIBYA (AUGUST 27, 2019) (REUTERS) ITEM OF CLOTHING AND A SHOE ON THE GROUND VARIOUS OF SURVIVORS SITTING / LYING / SLEEPING ON THE GROUND GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (AUGUST 27, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR) SPOKESMAN, CHARLIE YAXLEY, SAYING: "With today's tragedy, the number of people who have lost their lives on the Mediterranean in 2019 is now up to 900. We are just a few away now from reaching 1,000 people dying at sea for the sixth year in a row. And this is particularly concerning because on the central Mediterranean, the route from Libya to Europe, the rate of death is rising sharply. Around 1 in 6 or 1 in 7 people who attempt the journey subsequently drown at sea and there is an urgent need now for action to be taken, to increase searching rescue capacity and that includes EU states' vessels and the lifting of restrictions on NGOs and action taken to prevent people from drowning (who are) trying to escape violence in Libya." KHOMS, LIBYA (AUGUST 27, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SURVIVORS SITTING / LYING / SLEEPING ON THE GROUND GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (AUGUST 27, 2019) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR) SPOKESMAN, CHARLIE YAXLEY, SAYING: "They told us that they left on a boat close to the coastal city of Al-Khoms earlier this morning, they soon came into trouble and came into great distress from what they have told us, we estimate that some 40 people, at least, may be dead or missing at sea. Rescue operation continues to be underway, but the final death toll may be even higher." KHOMS, LIBYA (RECENT - AUGUST 1, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF RED CRESCENT WORKERS PUTTING BODY IN BAG VARIOUS OF RED CRESCENT WORKERS RECOVERING BODY FROM WATER'S EDGE AND PUTTING IN BAG RED CRESCENT WORKERS CARRYING BAG ONTO BEACH TWO BODY BAGS LYING SIDE BY SIDE
- Embargoed: 10th September 2019 16:13
- Keywords: libya migrants security shipwreck missing 40 dead UNHCR
- Location: KHOMS, LIBYA / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: KHOMS, LIBYA / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Libya
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001ATZV9DZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES
About 40 people are feared dead or missing after a boat carrying migrants bound for Europe was wrecked off the coast of Libya, with about 60 people rescued, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday (August 27).
UNHCR spokesman Charlie Yaxley said most survivors were from Sudan, with others from Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. He called for urgent action by EU states, including the use of their own vessels, and the lifting of restrictions on NGOs who run rescue ships.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have attempted the crossing from North Africa to Europe in recent years, with more than a thousand dying at sea every year for the last five years, according to UNHCR. Last week more than 100 people died, and a boat with about 250 people aboard capsized last month.
The number making the voyage declined sharply from mid-2017 after European-backed efforts to disrupt smuggling networks in Libya. But as of last week, nearly 5,400 migrants had been intercepted or rescued at sea by the Libyan coastguard so far this year and 900 have lost their lives, according to UNHCR.
(Production: Ayman Sahely, Nadeen Ebrahim, Hywel Davies)
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