Up to 245 migrants missing after two shipwrecks in Mediterranean sea

Elias Hubbard
May 13, 2017

The weekend disaster of two shipwrecks off Libya has raised the final toll of refugees dead or missing to 245, according to the latest numbers released Tuesday by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR.

He said about six thousand six hundred migrants, trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, have been rescued in the past few days. Those rescued were taken to Pozzallo in Sicily.

The migrants, who were bound for Italy, were picked up off the western city of Sabratha about 30 km north of Libya's coast, said navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem.

So far this year, more than 43,000 migrants and asylum-seekers have used the central Mediterranean route to reach Italy. Some 163 people are feared dead or missing during this particular incident.

More than 200 migrants are feared to have died in the Mediterranean over the weekend, according to testimony from survivors, and several bodies, including that of an infant, have washed up on a Libyan beach.

"There is normally pent-up demand", Millman said.

Paris police said about 350 officers took part in the operation early Tuesday morning.

But an immigration official said between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants are being held in harsh conditions in detention centres across Libya after entering the country illegally.

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"Our field colleagues providing direct assistance at the harbours reported that many migrants bore signs of torture", he said.

As IOM points out, more than 41,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the beginning of this year, more than 5,000 in Greece and nearly 2,500 in Spain.

"Many migrants need support after having lost loved ones at sea", IOM spokeswoman Christine Petré said in a statement.

Zuccaro caused a row last month by saying he had heard that people smugglers were funding some NGOs that rescue migrants to destabilise the Italian economy, although he had no hard evidence of this. Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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