Libya: Over 100 dead in September shipwrecks

Tripoli [Libya]: More than 100 people, including 20 children died in early September when two rubber boats carrying scores of people wrecked off the coast of Libya.

Aid agency Medecina Sans Frontiers (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders released a statement confirming the news, reported Al Jazeera.

The two boats that had set out from the Libyan coast were carrying scores of people. The victims were mostly from African countries such as Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Libya, Algeria and Egypt, MSF stated.

While some survived by clinging to the floating wreckage, many people were rescued by the Libyan coastguard.

“While the first boat had stopped due to an engine failure, our boat continued to navigate and began deflating around 1 pm. There were 165 adults and 20 children on board,” a survivor told MSF.

“We couldn’t swim and only a few people had life jackets. Those among us who could hold on the boat’s floating hood stayed alive,” the survivor added.

The MSF was swift to respond as it treated survivors with chemical burns that resulted from the engine petrol spills.

“Our medical team worked solidly for several hours to assist survivors with the most serious conditions,” said Jai Defranciscis, an MSF nurse working in Misrata, northwest Libya.

According to figures released by the United Nations, at least 1,000 drowned at sea while trying to cross ti Europe since the beginning of the year. The number of deaths was recorded until July 1, 2018.
However, in June, more than 200 drowned in the Mediterranean, despite the Italian government and the Libyan coastguard imposed restrictions.

In 2017, more than 3,000 people died or went missing. In 2017, the refugee arrivals to Italy and overall Europe were more than halved to just over 172,300.

In February 2017, the erstwhile Italian government under former prime minister Paolo Gentiloni Silveri signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord on the same issue.