At least 40 people feared dead or missing in latest shipwreck off Libya coast: UN
At least 40 people are believed to have drowned off the coast of Libya in the latest boat disaster on the Mediterranean, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday in a statement.
Migrants are rescued by members of the Aquarius rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, on August 2, 2017. [File photo: VCG]
The UNHCR statement said that some 60 survivors have been rescued and brought to shore in the coastal town of Al-Khoms, around 100 kilometers east of Tripoli.
"A rescue operation, carried by the Libyan Coast Guard and local fisherman, has been underway since this morning and is ongoing," it said.
This shocking incident has prompted UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency to renew its urgent call for action to save lives.
UNHCR said its teams are providing the survivors with medical and humanitarian assistance.
This latest incident follows just weeks after a shipwreck where some 150 lives are estimated to have been lost in the worst single incident on the Mediterranean this year.
"We must not simply accept these tragedies as inevitable," said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean. "Sympathies must now become actions that prevent loss of life at sea, and prevent the loss of hope that motivates people to risk their lives in the first place."
According to UNHCR, following Tuesday's tragedy, it is estimated that some 900 people have lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2019.