Five children among 45 migrants killed in shipwreck off Libya

19 August 2020, 19:14

45 migrants have died in a shipwreck off of Libya (file image)
45 migrants have died in a shipwreck off of Libya (file image). Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

45 migrants, including five children, have died in a shipwreck off Libya, the UN has said.

The UN agencies for refugees and migration said in a statement said there are at least 37 survivors who were rescued by fisherman.

The survivors are from Senegal, Mali, Chad and Ghana, and the boat they were on sank when the engine exploded off the coast of Zwara.

It is the deadliest shipwreck off Libya's coast this year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are now calling for changes to how countries are dealing with the growing international crisis.

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They said they were "deeply concerned" about the unfolding crisis.

"We urge states to swiftly respond to these incidents and systematically provide a predictable port of safety to people rescued at sea," statement said.

"Delays recorded in recent months, and failure to assist, are unacceptable and put lives at avoidable risk. 

"Where commercial vessels are the nearest boat capable of carrying out a rescue, they should be promptly provided with a safe port for disembarking the rescued passengers.

"They should not be instructed to return people to Libya, where they are at risk of the ongoing conflict, severe human rights violations, and arbitrary detention post-disembarkation."

The news comes as a teenage boy was found dead on a beach in France after disappearing in the English Channel while trying to cross to the UK.

The 16-year-old Sudanese migrant was found dead on a beach near Calais, a French minister said.

More to follow...