(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
115 refugees crossing the Mediterranean were rescued from a fragile rubber boat that collapsed soon after departing Libyan shores, according to the Libyan coast guard who conducted the rescue mission over the weekend.
The Libyan coast guard reported one refugee drowned from the rescue mission.
The rescue mission took place northwest of Khoms, a city about 100 kilometers from Tripoli, according to Col. Ayoub Qassem.
Qassem said the rescue mission, which began around 7:30 in the morning, lasted about two hours. The refugees were transported to a port in Khoms and were provided with medical treatment.
Following their arrival at the Khoms port the refugees, who originated from various African countries, were then transferred to the department responsible for illegal immigration in Libya’s interior ministry, said Qassem.
The refugee crisis in the Mediterranean region significantly worsened after the Libyan uprising in 2011 that brought down the Gaddafi regime. Around 4,220 refugees died on their way to Europe so far this year, the highest number on record, said the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM).
On Saturday, the Libyan Red Crescent reported that it found the bodies of 40 refugees who most likely left Libya on rubber boats in poor condition in hopes of reaching Europe to find a better life.
Also on Saturday, 10 refugees were found dead on a rubber boat and over 2,200 refugees were rescued, said the Italian Coast Guard.