23 migrants reportedly drowned on trip to Italy – IOM says
The International Organization for Migration says 21 migrants have gone missing and had probably drowned after a boat set off from Libya for Italy
– IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the 21 people missing were among the 51 on the wooden boat bringing the likely death toll to 23
– The probable deaths marked the largest incident in over a month on the central Mediterranean migrant route between Libya and Italy
The International Organisation for Migration said on Tuesday, March 6, that 21 migrants were missing, and had probably drowned, after two boats, a rubber dinghy and a wooden boat, set off from Libya for Italy and had to be rescued.
IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a news conference in Geneva that 132 other people on the rubber dinghy had been rescued.
READ ALSO: PDP reacts to NNPC spending N774 million per day, accuses presidency of covering up subsidy huge fraud – Click to read more
Late on Monday, March 5, SOS Mediterranee said there was one pregnant woman and 14 children with no family among the survivors.
The organisation said they come mostly from West Africa.
The migrants were first rescued on March 3 by a Cypriot merchant ship, and handed over to SOS Mediterranee late on Saturday.
Thirty were on a sinking wooden boat, and according to survivors, 21 people died in that shipwreck.
“There were five women on board, four drowned, including a pregnant one. One lost my brother,” a Gambian man was quoted as saying by SOS Mediterranee.
Most migrants are desperate not to be returned to Libya, where they face widespread abuse and torture.
According to SOS Mediterranee, the Libyan coastguard picked up about 90 people from the dinghy.
The Mediterranean is the world’s most dangerous sea migration route.