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55 bodies recovered from Libya shipwreck

Refugees are seen after being rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]
Refugees are seen after being rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]

Fifty-five bodies have been recovered so far off the Libyan coast, an aid worker said on Saturday after a wooden boat carrying hundreds of migrants capsized on Thursday, reports Reuters.

Search operations are continuing to find other missing migrants, a member of Libyan Red Crescent told Reuters by phone.

Up to 77% of migrants face abuse, exploitation and trafficking - Refugee crisis, Libya - Cartoon [Hani Abbas/MiddleEastMonitor]

Up to 77% of migrants face abuse, exploitation and trafficking – Refugee crisis, Libya – Cartoon [Hani Abbas/MiddleEastMonitor]

It was unclear how many people were on board and how many are still missing and feared to have been drowned after what the UN refugee agency UNHCR described as "the worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year."

Red Crescent member Abdulmenam Abu Sabay said the boat, which capsized near Komas, some 120 km (74.6 miles) east of Tripoli, was carrying 350 people, mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Libyan navy on Thursday put the number of migrants on board at 250 and the UNHCR said up to 150 were feared dead.

READ: More bodies found in Tunisia migrant ship sinking

Libyan coast guards and local fishermen rescued 134 migrants on Thursday.

"We do not have enough capacity to carry out our operations. Citizens help us with their own vehicles," Abu Sabay said.

"The bodies are still in bags in a hangar and we are waiting for security authorities' permission to bury them," he added. The hangar belongs to a department set up to fight illegal migration.

Libya is a hub for migrants and refugees, many of whom try to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats.

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AfricaInternational OrganisationsLibyaNewsUN
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