Migrant disaster: Libya collects victims' bodies

2015-08-28 13:27
Migrants wait in Catania harbour after being rescued by the Italian coast guard. (Dario Azzaro, AFP)

Migrants wait in Catania harbour after being rescued by the Italian coast guard. (Dario Azzaro, AFP)

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Zuwara - Libyan authorities were collecting the bodies of migrants who drowned off the Libyan coastal city of Zuwara, with some 200 feared dead on Friday in the latest disaster involving desperate people trying to reach Europe.

An Associated Press photographer at the scene saw workers removing bodies from the water, and pulling a flooded boat into the harbor that contained several drowned victims floating face down. At least one victim, a man, was wearing a life vest. They were put into body bags and lined up on the waterfront.

In a statement, the United Nations refugee agency said that up to 200 people were missing and feared dead, after the Libyan coast guard carried out rescue operations Thursday for two boats carrying an estimated 500 migrants.

Dozens of boats are launched from lawless Libya each week, with Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the surge.

Since a 2011 civil war that ended with the overthrow and killing of long-time dictator Muammer Gaddafi, the oil-rich north African country has plunged into chaos.

It is divided between an elected parliament and government based in the eastern port city of Tobruk and an Islamist militia-backed government in the capital Tripoli — with militants from the Islamic State group also exploiting the chaos.

Read more on:    libya  |  migrants  |  north africa

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