- The search for the survivors of the migrant boat that sank off Libya on Monday has been called off after three days of searching, an official has said. More than 230 people are presumed dead from the accident.
The International Organisation for Migration spokesman, Michele Bombassei, said about 100 bodies had been recovered with only 21 survivors out of 253 reported to have been on the boat when it capsized due to strong winds while heading to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Meanwhile, in a different incidence a boat carrying 357 people was rescued by Italian authorities and towed back to the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said that the tragic incident is the latest example of the global phenomenon that pushes people to take desperate measures to escape conflict and persecution.
"Globalisation is asymmetrical. It is a paradox that while the money and goods move more freely around the world, the obstacles to keeping people and in many cases is increasing," he said.
According to IOM, Libya is one of the main routes of African migrants who go to Europe. Last year only, according to a report, around 32,000 people crossed the sea to the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Libyan officials said the north African state has become a collecting point for illegal immigrants who try to save money there to buy a place on a smuggler’s boat to Europe. In February, Italy and Libya signed an accord to stem the flow.
The dead and those rescued in the two incidents were from North and Sub-Saharan African countries, including Egypt, according to the report.
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