Gosh: 700 African migrants drown in Libyan waters

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Seven hundred people are feared to have drowned when a

fishing boat smuggling migrants to Europe capsized off

Libya, the UN’s refugee agency said Sunday, in what could

be the deadliest Mediterranean migrant disaster yet.

Only 28 people survived the capsize, UNHCR spokeswoman

Carlotta Sami told the Skytg24 news channel in Italy. The

survivors indicated there had been more than 700 on board,

she said.

The Maltese navy put the numbers on board at around 650

and said an alert had come in around midnight (2200 GMT)

on Saturday.

“We have deployed our assets along with others from Italy

and we are a$$isting in the rescue operation,” a Maltese

navy spokesman told AFP Sunday without giving any other

details.

If confirmed, the tragedy would be by far the biggest in a

growing catalogue of ma$$ drownings of migrants

attempting to reach the European Union on overcrowded,

unseaworthy boats run by people smugglers.

The boat went down about 60 miles (96 km) off the Libyan

coast and 120 miles (193 km) south of the Italian island of

Lampedusa.

The disaster comes after a week in which two other

shipwrecks left an estimated 450 people dead. More than

11,000 other would-be immigrants to Europe have been

rescued by Italy’s coastguard and other boats.

Some 1,500 migrants have now drowned in the waters

between Libya and Italy since the start of the year.

Aid organisations have called for a concerted international

effort to put better search-and-rescue systems in place and

for action to stem the unprecedented numbers of asylum

seekers and migrants from Asia, the Middle East and Africa

seeking to reach Europe.

Source: PM NEWS

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