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Over 200 migrants go missing in Mediterranean Sea off Libya: UN

11 February 2015 13:41


Over 200 migrants on board vessels have gone missing following accidents in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast, the UN refugee agency says.

“Nine were saved after four days at sea. The other 203 were swallowed by the waves,” the spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Italy, Carlotta Sami, said on Twitter on Wednesday.

According to the UNHCR, the migrants had attempted to cross from Libya to Europe.

On Tuesday, Sami called on the European Union (EU) to employ effective measures to save the lives of the migrants after 29 Africans lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea because of hypothermia while they were on their way to the Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday.

“On Sunday, the Italian coastguard in Lampedusa received a distress call from a satellite phone. It was coming from a dinghy with many refugees and migrants that had left from Libya. They reached them after many hours, because the conditions of the sea were really rough, and when the people were brought on board, 29 of them had died,” said the UN official.

“We need a proper solution from the European Union to save lives in the Mediterranean,” Sami stated, adding, “They are Syrians, they are Eritreans, they are Africans coming from countries where there is war.”

According to the UNHCR figures, at least 3,419 illegal migrants died in the Mediterranean Sea last year.

The UN also reported that more than 87,000 people arrived in Italy by the Mediterranean Sea just in the first seven months of 2014.

Most of the migrants set off from crisis-hit countries such as Syria, Iraq and Libya in an attempt to reach Italy or Malta.

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