GENERAL NEWS 

239 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea

239 migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea a frequent rescue spot for migrants leaving Africa for Europe

On Thursday 3rd November 2016 the United Nations said that at least 239 migrants mostly from Syria and the Sub Saharan African countries died in two separate shipwrecks off the coast of Libya.

The 31 migrants who survived arrived early Thursday on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which has become a frequent rescue spot for migrants leaving Africa for Europe; they explained that their boats capsized in rough waters when wooden planks at the bottom of the rubber dinghy broke several hours after they left Libya around 3 a.m. Wednesday leaving them stranded in the Mediterranean for hours.

A U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said survivors of the first shipwreck reported that pregnant women and children were on board, but no children were saved in the rescue.

Ms. Sami said 12 bodies were recovered from the first boat, and the remaining people on the boats are believed to have drowned.

Sami said. “This is an absolutely appalling figure,”

If correct, these latest shipwrecks bring the count of people dead or missing in the Mediterranean to 4,220 this year, the highest toll on record, according to the AP.

migrants-drowned-in-sea

“I am deeply saddened by another tragedy on the high seas. … So many lives could be saved through more resettlement and legal pathways to protection,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement Thursday. “The Mediterranean is a deadly stretch of sea for refugees and migrants, yet they still see no other option but to risk their lives to cross it.”

Most of the migrants appear to have come from sub-Saharan Africa, Sami said, but she said details were still being checked. She did not immediately know which agency carried out the rescue.

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