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40 Feared Dead After Migrant Boat Sinks Off Libyan Coast

Geneva, Aug 27 At least 40 people are estimated to have drowned off the coast of Libya on Tuesday in the latest “shocking” boat disaster in the Mediterranean, the United Nations refugee agency said, urging Europe to renew efforts to prevent such deaths.

Some 60 survivors have been rescued and brought to shore in the coastal town of Al-Khoms, around 100 km east of Tripoli, said the UNHCR statement.

A search and rescue operation by Libyan Coast Guard and local fisherman is continuing and UNHCR teams are giving survivors with medical and humanitarian assistance, the statement said.

“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.”

Following Tuesday’s tragedy, some 900 people have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe this year, according to UNHCR.

UNHCR called on the European Union to re-deploy its Sophia migrant search and rescue vessels in the Mediterranean after the bloc suspended its naval mission in March. UNHCR also urged an end to “legal and logistical restrictions” (placed by Italy) on charity search and rescue boats and planes.

 

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