UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The survivors of one of the worst tragedies of the Mediterranean are waiting for them to be transferred to a migrant center, while their sad faces look up into the void, unaware of the fate of their comrades who are still missing.
About 30 people sat silent on the ground after being rescued on Thursday after their boat sank off the coast of Al-Khamis (west of Libya).
A few steps away, more than 100 migrants were declared missing.
But there is no apparent sea-level search for the victims, and the actual number appears to be unknown. “Becausly body recovered from the sea was wrapped in a bag of the Libyan Red Crescent, whe of the lack of resources, we will wait for the bodies to return,” a Coast Guard official told AFP reporters at the scene.
The survivors are mostly Eritreans, as well as Palestinians and Sudanese.
The women were placed in a trailer in a temporary manner, to prepare their forces after spending more than six hours in the water, one of them explained.
“We left at around 23:30 and an hour and a half later, the water entered our boat and its Egyptian commander said we would go back to the Libyan shores,” said Ibrahim Asman, a survivor.
The 28-year-old Eritrean man said they saw “a big ship named Turkon Line.” “We thought it would save us, we pointed to it and called it with our voice and siren but did not respond to us even though they were looking at us.”
Half an hour later, the boat was filled with water and its engine was disrupted. “We stayed in the water for six to seven hours,” said Abdullah. “He spent nearly 200 people, men, women and children.”
Survivors say they were not far away when they saw the lights of the port of Al-Khums, 120 km east of Tripoli.
“At about 6 pm, after the sunrise,” fishermen “came with their small boats and began pulling us out of groups, every time five people … and that lasted until 9:00 am.”
One of the fishermen told AFP that “bodies were floating on the surface of the water in the area of sink the boat.”
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) office reported that some 145 migrants had been rescued and 110 missing. But a spokesman for the Libyan navy Ayoub Qasim said for his part that 134 immigrants have been rescued, compared to the loss of 115.
Médecins Sans Frontières, on the basis of its accounts of the survivors, estimated that some 400 migrants were aboard the boat.
“I am appalled by the information that some 150 people have died following a sinking incident off the coast of Libya,” he said.
Every immigrant needs a better life, deserves security and dignity, “he said in a tweet on Twitter.
“The worst tragedy in the Mediterranean this year has just happened,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi wrote on Twitter.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) indicated before the recent drowning incident that 426 people had died since the beginning of the year as they tried to cross the Mediterranean, the deadliest sea route.
Survivors are usually received by non-governmental organizations, who are cared for and fed, and then transferred by the Libyan authorities to detention centers characterized by grim conditions.
Ayoub Kassem said the five survivors were waiting to be transferred to “shelters”.
Although violence has continued in Libya since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya remains a major transit point for migrants fleeing from areas in Africa and the Middle East and seeking to reach Europe.
They prefer to migrate by sea despite the dangers, rather than staying in Libya where they are subjected to abuse, extortion and torture, according to organizations.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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