The UN reports that over 60 migrants are believed to have perished after a boat sank near Libya.

According to the UN agency, the victims of the tragic incident were individuals from Nigeria, the Gambia, and other African countries, including women and children. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has reported that a total of 61 migrants are missing and presumed dead after their boat sank off the coast of Libya. This latest migrant tragedy in North Africa is believed to have been caused by high waves that overwhelmed the vessel after its departure from Zuwara on Libya’s north-west coast. Survivors have stated that there were approximately 86 migrants on board. Libya and Tunisia serve as major starting points for migrants who embark on perilous sea journeys in hopes of reaching Europe via Italy.

The IOM office further revealed that most of the victims, including women and children, were from Nigeria, the Gambia, and other African countries. Among the 86 migrants, 25 individuals were rescued and taken to a Libyan detention center. The survivors, who were in good condition, received medical assistance from an IOM team. Unfortunately, this incident adds to the alarming number of fatalities along the central Mediterranean migrant route this year, surpassing 2,250 deaths. Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesperson, emphasized the urgent need for more proactive measures to save lives at sea.

In another tragic incident that took place on 14 June, the Adriana, a fishing boat carrying 750 people from Libya to Italy, sank in international waters off southwest Greece. The majority of the passengers were Syrians, Pakistanis, and Egyptians. Only 104 individuals survived, while 82 bodies were recovered. Since the start of the year, over 153,000 migrants have arrived in Italy from Tunisia and Libya, as reported by the United Nations refugee agency. Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, who is associated with the far-right, won the elections last year with a promise to tackle illegal migration. The ongoing violence in Libya since the downfall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, coupled with a Nato-supported uprising, has created favorable conditions for human traffickers, who have been implicated in various forms of exploitation, ranging from extortion to slavery.

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