74 dead migrants washed ashore in Libya
- Author: Santos West Feb 22, 2017,
Feb 22, 2017, 0:13
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Tuesday that 74 bodies of migrants have washed up on the Libyan coast.
The agency posted photographs on its Twitter account of dozens of bodies in white and black body bags, lined up along the shore.
The aid organisation's spokesman Mohammed al-Misrati told the AP news agency that the bodies washed ashore on Tuesday morning.
The Libya to Italy smuggling route saw record numbers of drownings a year ago.
Libya is a preferred departure point for illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean towards European shores.
One of the most contentious elements of the EU's push to stem illegal immigration from Africa is its involvement in migrant camps.
"Some bodies are still on the beach and others that we can't reach are still floating in the water".
It said bodies still remain on the beach as the organization lacks vehicles to ferry them to the cemetery.
Mr Gassim said the smugglers were now using larger rubber boats in order to pack more migrants in, some carrying up to 180 people.
January 2017 saw 288 migrants perish en route to Europe, the highest monthly toll seen since the 2011 uprising that drove Libya into chaos and turned the country into a death trap for the many sub-Saharan Africans seeking to escape conflict, starvation or poverty. More are believed to be at sea. January alone saw 228 recorded deaths, by far the biggest monthly toll in recent years.
Out of the record 181,000 migrants who sailed from Libya, 4,500 have died in their effort to reach Italy. The IOM said the latest incident raised the total number of deaths this year to more than 365.
The European Union has plans to halt the tide by training the Libyan coast guard and stepping up cooperation with neighboring Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Libya, which has been in a state of civil war itself since 2011, is largely governed by local militias that often turn a profit from the trafficking, with its two main opposing governments busy competing for power in separate parts of the country.
Rights groups have documented migrants' horror journeys involving torture, rape, and forced labour inside Libya.