#Migrants on a boat thought to be travelling across the Mediterranean from #Libya to #italy have died with as many as 98 feared dead. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Saturday, as many as 110 people were on board the vessel.
Migrant survivors reported as only four people so far
So far, there are only four known survivors. Eight bodies were initially reported as recovered from the sea, but in an update, the James Town Sun indicated that 13 have now been found. CNN reported the incident and they cited IOM spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo as saying the incident happened in harsh sea-going conditions.
Second incident of large numbers of people from Libya in boat wreck in two months.
This is the second incident involving large numbers of drowned refugees in just two months. In November, 100 people were reported missing after a boat capsized in the Mediterranean. That boat was also believed to have set sail from Libya. The Localit reported that in the November incident over 100 people went missing and Doctors Without Borders said that only 27 men in a complement of 130 people had survived.
CNN reports indicate that in 2016, 380,000 refugees made it to Europe across the sea, but that as many as 5,079 people died or simply went missing. According to data by the UN Refugee Agency, most migrants that head for Italy set off out of Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. In their weekly report dated 13 January, 728 refugees and migrants arrived by sea in Italy the previous week.
Initial survivors picked up by French warship
Aljazeera covered the latest incident, and said that a French warship picked up the survivors. The final toll is not exact at this time, as search and rescue operations are still underway. The weather is bad and this hampers the operations. There are apparently a "Frontex jet and an Italian naval helicopter" also involved in the search and rescue operation, as well as the Italian Coastguard.
Italy is hot destination for Libya refugees
Italy has become a top destination for refugee migrants, so much so that the government there is trying to negotiate a return policy with some of the North African countries. The refugees sometimes spend their life savings to make the perilous 300km journey to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea.