100 migrants missing in shipwreck off Libya

100 migrants missing in shipwreck off Libya

The massive flood of migrants across the Mediterranean over the past few years prompted the European Union to take measures, including training and equipping Libya's coast guard to stop boats attempting the risky sea crossing. Now, barely a week into the New Year there already are reports of close to 200 migrants or refugees dead or missing on the Central Mediterranean route.

IOM said it recorded just 26 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean in December. Now, this week's reports suggest that 2018's start may be even deadlier.

A total of 171,635 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during 2017 compared with 363,504 arrivals across the region in 2016, according to the United Nations migration agency.

Five of this year's deaths were in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco, IOM said.

The rest, 76 with a possibility of many more, were recorded in the waters between Italy and Libya.

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The Italian Coastguard released dramatic footage of their rescue of 86 people from the boat, hours after it holed and started sinking on Saturday morning (local time).

Survivors from a shipwrecked rubber boat off the coast of Libya said at least 50 people died when the vessel sunk on Tuesday, while the Libyan Coast Guard said that number may be as high as 100, according to Reuters.

That boat had likely also departed from the port of Gasr Garabulli, and there were 64 confirmed deaths. The majority of the survivors came from African countries including The Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, and Nigeria. "Eight corpses have been recovered and there are 56 missing migrants", IOM's Italy spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo said on Twitter.

After receiving humanitarian and medical assistance, the immigrants were handed over to Libya's Anti-illegal Immigration Department.

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