45 Dead in shipwreck off libya

45 dead in shipwreck off libya

Among the victims are said to have been five children. The two organizations call for an immediate review of the incident and an expansion of search and rescue capacities on the ground.

Some 37 survivors – mostly from senegal, mali, chad and ghana – were rescued by local fishermen and arrested on arrival on land, according to IOM. According to their reports, the ship's engine had exploded off the coast of the northwestern town of zuwara.

"We fear that many lives will be lost if rescue capacity is not increased," UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman charlie yaxley wrote on twitter. Non-governmental organizations should be allowed to operate without restrictions.

"We urge states to respond swiftly to these incidents and systematically provide a predictable port of safety for people rescued at sea," wrote IOM and UNHCR. In recent months, there have been repeated unacceptable delays and failure to provide assistance. The danger to human life is immeasurable. IOM spokeswoman safa msehli reminded states that they have an obligation under international law to protect civilians.

Libya has become an important transit country for migrants fleeing war and poverty to europe. Libya has been in a state of civil war since the overthrow of its long-time ruler muammar al-gaddafi in 2011 with the help of the west. Most migrants make the perilous crossing to europe in seaworthy rubber boats. Thousands intercepted and returned to libya.

According to the two organizations, at least 302 migrants and refugees have been killed this year in crossings to libya. The actual number of fatalities is estimated to be much higher.