Posted by: africanpressorganization | 1 April 2009

Libya / Rescued Migrants Speak of Ordeal



Libya / Rescued Migrants Speak of Ordeal


TRIPOLI, Libya, April 1, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Note

Migrants rescued from a smuggler’s boat that capsized off the coast of Libya earlier in the week said the boat had capsized because of the bad weather and because of those on board panicking at seeing the boat leaking water.

An IOM staff member, who went together with counter-parts from the UN’s refugee agency and the NGO IOPCR to assess a small group of rescued migrants at a centre in Tripoli, was told by the survivors that the smuggler, an Egyptian national, had died.

According to the migrants, many of whom have kidney problems after drinking sea water, their boat had left Janzour, 15 kms west of Tripoli, at 0500 on Monday (30 March) Three hours later, the boat capsized.

The migrants said they had survived because they had stayed at the back of the boat, the only part to have stayed afloat. They were rescued at 1600 by Libyan coastguards.

The migrants claimed that of the 257 people on board, there were 70 women and two children. They are all reported to have died except one of the women who is now currently in hospital receiving treatment.

IOM’s Michele Bombassei, said the physical condition of the 20 migrants, of North and West African origin, and now being hosted at the centre, was largely okay except for the problems caused by drinking sea water. An IOM doctor is being sent to the centre with appropriate medication.

With only just over 20 people having survived the tragedy, more than 230 people are missing, feared dead.

A second boat carrying 357 migrants was towed safely back to Tripoli.


SOURCE : International Office of Migration (IOM)


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