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UNHCR appalled by the loss of life at sea off the coast of Libya

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UNHCR appalled by the loss of life at sea off the coast of Libya

30 June 2018
An aerial shot of the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, May 2011.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply saddened at the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. On 29 June, at least 100 people died after a boat carrying around 123 refugees and migrants sank off the coast of Tajoura in Libya.

According to the survivors, the unseaworthy and overcrowded rubber boat they were traveling in sank at sea. Survivors were swimming for one hour before they were rescued by the Libyan coast guard.

“This is the hardest day of my life. I didn’t know whether to save myself, my children or my friends,” one of the survivors told UNHCR once safe.

Among those deceased are 70 men, 30 women and three babies. The Libyan coast guard rescued 16 people while more than 80 bodies remain at sea.

On the same day, some 300 refugees and migrants were disembarked by the Libyan coast guard at the Tripoli Naval Base, including 15 children and 40 women.

UNHCR and its partners were present at both disembarkation points and provided urgent medical and humanitarian assistance to the survivors, before they were transferred to detention facilities by the authorities.

UNHCR is concerned about the increasing number of people dying on the Central Mediterranean route and is calling for concerted international efforts to avoid further tragedies.

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