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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

At Least 43 People Drown After Migrant Boat Capsizes in the Mediterranean Sea

At least 43 African migrants drowned in the first migrant shipwreck of 2021, two agencies of the United Nations reported on Jan. 20.

At least 43 African migrants drowned in the first migrant shipwreck of 2021, two agencies of the United Nations reported on Jan. 20.

A boat carrying African migrants overturned in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya due to bad sea conditions when its engine stopped a few hours after leaving the northwestern Libyan city of Zawya last Jan. 19, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a joint statement.

UNCHR’s partner International Rescue Committee reported that according to the 10 survivors who were rescued by Coastal Security in Zwara, all the passengers who died were men from West African countries.

The survivors were mainly from Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana, and The Gambia and were given emergency medical assistance, including food and water, before they were released to the port.

“Hundreds of people lost their lives last year attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean, where the highest number of fatalities along a single migration journey worldwide occurred,” IOM and UNCHR said, adding that the actual number could be higher due to the limited ability to monitor migrant routes.

“This loss of life highlights once more the need for re-activation of State-led search and rescue operations, a gap NGO and commercial vessels are trying to fill despite their limited resources,” IOM and UNCHR stated, adding a call for “ending returns to unsafe ports.”

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