By Ajibola Abayomi,
January 11, 2018
It was a tragic start to New Year for migrants from Nigeria and other countries as hundreds of them crossing to Italy and Spain were feared dead in the Mediterranean Sea, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said.
IOM’s Public Information Officer in Libya, Christine Petré, reported that the boats carrying the migrants departed from the coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums in Libya.
“Most of the survivors hail from African countries, including Senegal, Mali and Nigeria. The Libyan Cost Guard reported that eight were from Bangladesh while two were from Pakistan,” Petré said.
According to IOM, and a report released by Libya’s Coast Guard, about 100 people on board remain missing.
The UN migration agency said its officials were present at the disembarkation point in Tripoli and provided the survivors with food and water.
Othman Belbeisi, Chief of IOM Libya Mission, said on Wednesday that about 200 migrants or refugees had died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea with up to 100 unaccounted for since Saturday.
“It’s very distressing that during the first 10 days of 2018 we have seen close to 800 migrants rescued or intercepted off the Libyan coast, with more lives lost at sea.
“More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route,” Belbeisi said.