TRIPOLI: In the worst Mediterranean Tragedy, as many as 115 people are believed to have been drowned and 134 were rescued by Libyan coast guards and local fishermen.
The wooden boat carrying 300 migrants and refugees sank approximately 120km east of the capital, Tripoli. The boat capsized off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranian Sea.
UNHCR head Filippo Grandi said in a tweet
The worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year has just occurred. Restoring rescue at sea, ending refugee+migrant detention in Libya, increasing safe pathways out of Libya must happen NOW, before it is too late for many more desperate people.
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The Libyan Navy spokesperson said the people on board were mainly from Eritrea and other sub-Saharan Africa and Arab countries.
Libya being a hub for migrants and refugees, many try to escape to Europe in unseaworthy boats.
Charlie Yaxley, UNCHR Global Spokesperson has said, a group of 300 people left Al-Khums in Libya by boat.
The disaster struck people were initially rescued by the local fishermen and Libyan Coast Guards. Around 147 survivors were rescued and returned to Libya.
The survivors have told the officials that another group of 150 people died at the sea.
He also said this Mediterranian Tragedy is the largest shipwreck tragedy of 2019.
The Survivors of Mediterranean Tragedy
Al Jazeera has shared the ordeals of the survivors.
Sabah Youssef, from Sudan, lost her seven-year-old child. Sabah now just wants to go back to her country Sudan and die there.
Another survivor said they were going to Italy from Libya but after just one hour the ship started to sink. Most of the people on that boat sank.
Another survivor said no one came to rescue, we helped ourselves and asked for help from the International Community
International Organization for Migration (IOM) has recorded as many as 700 deaths in the Mediterranean so far this year. In 2018 the registered deaths were as many as 1,425.
Yaxley, the UNHCR spokesman, has said ” if the current trend continues that will see us pass more than 1,000 deaths in the Mediterranean for the sixth year in a row,”
According to UNHCR 5,600 refugees and migrants currently held in centers across Libya. Approximately 50,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers currently living elsewhere in Libya
IOM Libya has tweeted
Update: survivors from the shipwreck, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese report some 250 were on the boat before it capsized off the coast of Khums after engine failure. Among those feared drowned are women and children. Survivors remain hours later at the disembarkation point.
Urgent: tragic shipwreck may have occurred in the central mediterranean. Nearly 150 migrants are reported missing and 145 more returned to Libyan shore.