The International Organization for Migration yesterday said that a boat carrying migrants bound for Europe capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya, leaving at least two dozen people drowned or missing and presumed dead, the latest shipwreck off the North African nation.
Libya’s coast guard intercepted three boats on Monday, and one of them had capsized, said Safa Msehli, a spokeswoman for the UN migration agency.
She said the coast guard retrieved two bodies, and survivors reported 22 others were missing and presumed dead.
At least 45 survivors on the three boats were returned to the shore. All migrants were men, with a majority from Egypt and Morocco, she said.
Survivors and other intercepted migrants were taken to a detention center in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, Msehli said.
“This new tragedy signals yet again the need for increased search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean. Instead, we are seeing restrictions on NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and long, unnecessary standoffs,” Msehli said.
The shipwreck was the latest maritime disaster involving migrants seeking a better life in Europe.
More than 350 migrants have died in the central Mediterranean this year, Msehli said last month.
Last month, a boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized leaving at least 45 people drowned or missing and presumed dead, marking the largest number of fatalities in a single shipwreck off the coast of the North African country.
The agency’s Missing Migrants Project said that since the middle of last month, when four shipwrecks were reported in the central Mediterranean, 48 bodies have washed ashore at Libyan coasts.
It said at least 54 other people might have died at sea in those tragedies.
Libya, which descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab refugees and migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.
Most make the perilous journey in ill-equipped and unsafe rubber boats.
The agency said in March that its estimated death toll among refugees and migrants who tried to cross the Mediterranean passed the “grim milestone” of 20,000 deaths since 2014.
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
A persistent blizzard on Saturday blanketed large parts of Spain with an unusual amount of snow, killing at least four people and leaving thousands trapped in vehicles or at train stations and airports that suspended all services. The national weather agency reported that as of 7am, the snowfall in Madrid reached a level unseen in a half-century. More than 50cm of snow fell in the Spanish capital, the weather agency AEMET said. The bodies of a man and woman were recovered by the Andalucia region emergency service after their car was washed away by a flooded river near the town of Fuengirola.
China has recorded the biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases in more than five months, despite four cities in lockdown, increased testing and other measures aimed at preventing another wave of infections in the world’s second-biggest economy. Most of the new infections were reported near the capital, Beijing, but a province in northeast China also saw a rise in new cases, official data showed yesterday, amid a resurgence that has seen more than 28 million people under home quarantine. The Chinese National Health Commission said in a statement that a total of 115 new confirmed cases were reported in the country, compared