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Major shipwreck off Libyan coast claims 43 lives

IOM staff assisting survivors of Tuesday’s shipwreck off Zwara

At least 43 migrants from West Africa were killed in the first major shipwreck off the Libyan coast.

The United Nations agencies disclosed the news on Wednesday, January 20.

 According to the report issued by the agencies, the tragedy transpired just few hours after taking off from the city of Zawya following engine malfunction due to aggressive sea conditions.

Other reports indicated that 10 people mainly from the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia were rescued and brought to shore by Coastal Security in Zwara on Libya’s northwestern coast.

The survivors disclosed that those who perished were all men from West African countries.

A report by AFP revealed that hundreds of people lost their lives last year trying to cross the Central Mediterranean, where the highest number of fatalities along a single migration journey worldwide occurred.

However, the recent accident is the first shipwreck of 2021 in the Central Mediterranean according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

The IOM and UNHCR also disclosed that the actual number of people who lost their lives in the Central Mediterranean in year 2020 could be much higher due to the limited ability to monitor routes.

Libya has become a key route for irregular migration to Europe over the years and the UN agencies have commended the country for the effort to combat the practice.

However, the agencies have asked for boosting of efforts to hold perpetrators accountable to prevent further loss of lives in similar manner.

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