Libya: At Least 278 African Migrants Rescued at Sea

Libya: At Least 278 African Migrants Rescued at Sea

Libyan authorities have rescued in two separate operations on Monday at least 278 migrants as they tried to reach Europe. In one operation, 150 African migrants including two women and four children, were saved by Libyan coastguards after their inflatable boat engine broke down and started to sink.

The migrants were brought ashore to a naval base in Tripoli where authorities gave them food, water and medical assistance before handing them over to a detention center.

Human traffickers have exploited years of chaos in Libya since the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moammar Kadhafi to boost their lucrative business.

Tens of thousands of desperate African migrants pay smugglers to help them cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to what they think an Eldorado in Europe.

Since January, more than 100,000 migrants have made the perilous voyage, with around 85,000 arrived in Italy from Libya, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

Au total of 2,360 African migrants have lost their lives this year while trying to reach Europe. Libya continues to be the main departing point for refugees and migrants seeking to reach Europe.

UNHCR is scaling up its presence in places of disembarkation for people rescued or intercepted at sea, in close cooperation with IOM and other partners.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Libya have been affected by the collapse of law and order, absent or insufficient health care assistance, essential medicines, food, safe drinking water, shelter and education.

In response to this situation, UNHCR is ramping up its existing humanitarian operations in the North African country, and is strengthening cooperation with IOM to enhance actions of both organizations.


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