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Shipwrecks in Mediterranean Kill 239 Refugees

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Nearly 239 refugees were killed in two separate shipwrecks just off Libya’s shores on Thursday and only two have reportedly survived, said the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The UNHCR, along with other humanitarian organizations, said the risky journey that refugees embark on to get to Europe has now become even more dangerous. The human traffickers are starting to use boats in even worse condition than what they used before.

One of the boats, that had around 20 women and six children on board, set out from Libya at about 3 am on Wednesday. A few hours later their boat capsized according to Flavio di Giacomo, spokesperson for the IOM.

When rescuers arrived at the scene nearly all refugees on board the failing boat had drowned. So far only 27 survivors and twelve bodies were found, three of the bodies were babies.

Carlotta Sami, UNHCR’s spokesperson for southern Europe, said the two women who survived the other shipwreck were able to make it to Lampedusa, Italy.

So far this year, 4,220 refugees died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea for Europe, said Leonard Doyle, a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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