Many refugees and migrants are feared to have drowned after the boats they sailed off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean capsized.
Ayoub Qasim, a spokesman for the Libyan Coast Guard. The Associated Press news agency reported that two boats with about 300 people had sunk about 120 km east of the capital, Tripoli, before 134 more were rescued.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), however, said in a Twitter post on Thursday it was reported that more than 150 people could have drowned while 145 were rescued and returned to Libya after the incident.
Charlie Yaxley, spokesman for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said the survivors had been selected "We estimate that 1
"The worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year has just happened," said Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees .
He called for European nations to resume rescue operations in the Mediterranean, to halt a decision by the European Union and call for an end to the detention of migrants in Libya. Safe routes from the North African country are needed "before it is too late for many desperate people," Grandi said.
Now I want nothing more than to return to my country, to Sudan, to die there
Sabah Youssef, a survivor who lost her seven-year-old child
Qasim told AFP that most people rescued from the sea came from Ethiopia, while others were Palestinians and Sudanese.
Sabah Youssef, Sudan lost her seven-year-old child after the boat sank. "I just do not want to go back to my country, to Sudan, to die there," the rescued Youssef told Reuters.
Some of the survivors shared their ordeal at sea.
] "In the afternoon we drove from Libya to Italy, but when we went there, the ship began to sink after one hour and most of them (humans) sank," said an unnamed survivor from Eritrea to AP.
Another survivor from Eritrea added: "We saved ourselves, no one could help us, and no one came to save us As we are in a big problem, we need your help (from the international community) . " Shipwreck may have occurred in the central Mediterranean.
Almost 150 migrants are reported missing and another 145 return to the Libyan coast.
– IOM Libya (@IOM_Libya) 25 July 2019
Libya is one of the main starting points for migrants and refugees fleeing poverty and war in the Middle East and Africa, trying to take Europe by boat across the Mediterranean to reach.
Travelers often travel in overcrowded and unsafe ships.
This year, nearly 700 deaths have been recorded in the Mediterranean, after after after ie IOM almost half as many as the 1425 that were registered in 2018 ,
"If the current trends continue for this year, we will record more than 1000 deaths in the Mediterranean for the sixth year in a row", Yaxley said the spokesman UNHCR to Al Jazeera.
"This is a really dull milestone, just weeks after more than 50 people died in an internment camp following an airstrike in Tajoura, again stressing the [need] postponement Approach to the situation in Libya and the Mediterranean. "
It is estimated that 6,000 refugees and migrants are being held in detention centers throughout Libya, while some 50,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers are living abroad, according to the UNHCR ,
The United Nations has repeatedly warned that the conflict-ridden North African country is not a safe haven for the detention of migrants and refugees, and called for the release of people in detention centers.
It also urged the European Union to give up its policy of supporting the Libyan Coast Guard in order to intercept and forcibly return persons trapped on the way to Europe.
The EU ended its fleet patrols in the Mediterranean due to disagreements over how the rescued should be divided among the EU Member States.
Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has objected to the existing ruling as most of the rescued migrants and refugees were taken to Italian ports.
Salvini, who is also Italy's Deputy Prime Minister, has excluded aid weapon ships from docking in Italian ports and threatened to impose tens of thousands of euro penalty for violators and seize their ships in Libya and "deaths" of others in the Mediterranean were "preventable".
"Politicians would make you believe that the death of hundreds of people at sea and the suffering of thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in Libya is the acceptable price for Attempts to control migration, "said Sam Turner, director of the Mission for the Search and Rescue of Doctors without Borders in Libya, in a statement on Sunday.
"The c The old reality is that while they announce the end of the so-called" European migration crisis ", they knowingly ignore the humanitarian crisis that perpetuates this policy in Libya and at sea" , he added.