Fifty migrants, including a number of Egyptians, drowned off Libya after the ship on which they were travelling sank, the Libyan Red Crescent announced on Sunday evening.
Ahmed Makhlouf, head of the immigration department of the Libyan Red Crescent, added that the bodies of the dead immigrants were recovered. “Among the recovered bodies were young Egyptians,” he noted.
The United Nations Migration Organization (IOM) reported earlier that at least 11 people drowned when a rubber boat carrying about 24 migrants on their way to Europe capsized off the coast of Libya, on Sunday. The number of victims increased to 50 at a later time.
The IOM stated that the tragedy occurred near the city of Al-Zawiya, in the west of the country, adding that the Libyan Coast Guard saved the lives of 12 immigrants, who are expected to be transferred to a detention center. Sunday’s drowning accident is the latest on the migration route across the Mediterranean.
“The continuous loss of life calls for an urgent change in approach to the situation in Libya and the Central Med,” the IOM added.
Libya has emerged in recent years as a major transit point for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
The oil-rich country was plunged into chaos following the uprising supported by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that resulted in the overthrow and death of the country’s long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011.