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UN: 172 migrants drowned off Libya coast

A Libyan helicopter over as refugees wait to get on onboard the rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after being rescued from a wooden boat sailing out of control in the Mediterranean Sea near Libya on Thursday, 15 June, 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]
A Libyan helicopter hovers over as refugees wait to get on onboard the rescue vessel in the Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]

According to the United Nations (UN), 172 migrants are believed to have drowned off the Libyan coast in the past few days.

This came in a tweet by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Thursday, in which it referred to receiving reports about migrant boats that sank in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast.

In response to Anadolu Agency correspondent's question on whether any migrants have drowned, IOM Spokesperson Safa Msehli confirmed that three rubber boats carrying migrants left the Libyan shores towards Europe. Msehli noted that the Libyan coast guard managed to rescue one boat two days ago, however, two migrants on board lost their lives.

Reports confirmed that the second boat carrying 130 migrants had sunk, stating that French non-governmental organisation SOS Méditerranée found tens of bodies.

READ: Libya's oil production short of 300,000 barrels per day due to debt 

As for the third rubber boat carrying 40 migrants, Msehli confirmed that it is missing and that efforts to locate it are ongoing.

The IOM official revealed that she believes 172 migrants have lost their lives in the past few days, while accusing countries of failing to respond to the distress calls from the immigrants.

Msehli confirmed that the death toll in the Mediterranean alone rose to 500 people, almost three times as many recorded fatalities as last year.

AfricaInternational OrganisationsLibyaNewsUN
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