February 03, 2018
11 Pakistanis among 90 migrants feared dead in shipwreck off Libya
GENEVA: At least 90 people, including 11 Pakistanis, were feared dead on Friday in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya as they tried to undertake the treacherous journey in search of employment.
A boat carrying the migrants capsized off the coast of Zuwara in the early hours Friday, International Organization for Migration spokeswoman Olivia Headon told reporters in Geneva by phone from Tunis. “At least 90 migrants are reported to have drowned, when a boat capsized off the coast of Libya this morning”, the agency added in a statement.
It said that “10 bodies are reported to have washed up on Libyan shores”, including two Libyan nationals and eight Pakistanis.
Two survivors from the disaster had swum to shore, while another was rescued by a fishing boat, it added.
But Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed that up to 11 Pakistani citizens were among those who drowned.
Faisal told The Associated Press that Pakistani diplomats had reached Libya’s coastal area to collect more details. He said that Pakistani authorities will try to bring back the bodies of Pakistanis killed in the tragedy.
The agency has repeatedly issued warnings over the extreme dangers facing migrants who try to reach Europe via the so-called central Mediterranean route, which connects Libya to Italy.
IOM said Friday that more than 6,600 migrants and refugees had already entered Europe by sea since the beginning of the year, with central Mediterranean route crossings to Italy accounting for nearly 65 percent of the entries.
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