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40 migrants feared dead after boat sinks off Libya coast: UNHCR

24 July 2015 14:37


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says at least 40 people are feared dead after their inflatable dinghy sank off the coast of troubled Libya as they were seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea en route to southern Europe.

“My colleagues are interviewing the survivors… who arrived this afternoon in Augusta (Sicily), and they are talking of 35 to 40 people missing at sea,” UNHCR’s spokesman in Italy, Federico Fossi, said on Thursday of the tragic event that occurred the previous day.

The UN refugee agency stated that most of the victims hailed from Sub-Saharan African countries, including Somalia, Eritrea, Benin and Mali.

International NGO, Save the Children, said women and children were among those missing.

“We have spoken to several (survivors) and their versions match. I have in front of me a young boy in tears, who says he has lost his brother. The victims are all from Sub-Saharan Africa,” Save the Children spokeswoman, Giovanna di Benedetto, was quoted as saying by Italian-language daily La Repubblica.

According to a report published by the newspaper, three dinghies set sail from the Libyan capital city of Tripoli, but one of them with 120 people on board sank.

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