KHUMS, Libya. — At least 74 migrants died in a shipwreck on Thursday off the coast of Khums, Libya, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.
“The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen and 31 bodies have been retrieved while the search for victims continues,” the IOM said Thursday in a statement.
IOM says that since Tuesday at least 19 people, including two children drowned after two boats capsized in the Central Mediterranean, while NGO Open Arms rescued more than 200 people in three operations.
“The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action to redeploy much needed, dedicated Search and Rescue capacity in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world,” IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda said in the statement.
“We have long called for a change in the evidently unworkable approach to Libya and the Mediterranean, including ending returns to the country and establishing a clear disembarkation mechanism followed by solidarity from other states. Thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction both at sea and on land.”
In October, at least 140 migrants drowned off the coast of Senegal in what the IOM described as the deadliest shipwreck this year.
The boat carrying about 200 people set sail for Spain’s Canary Islands when it caught fire a few hours after departing the coastal town of Mbour in western Senegal, before capsizing near Saint-Louis, on the country’s northwest coast, the UN migration agency said at the time.
According to IOM, in 2020 at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, some due to delays in rescue.