Sixty-one migrants, including women and children, from Nigeria, Gambia, and other African countries have drowned following a shipwreck off Libya, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, a United Nations agency has said.
The boat originally contained 86 people and left the Libyan shores from Zwara, according to IOM.
It said: “The central Mediterranean continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous migration routes.”
According to AFP, most of the victims of the latest incident were from Nigeria, Gambia, and other African countries.
The IOM said 25 people survived and were transferred to a Libyan detention centre.
An IOM team “provided medical support” and the survivors were all in good condition, the IOM office said.
Flavio Di Giacomo, an IOM spokesperson, wrote on X that more than 2,250 people had died so far this year on the central Mediterranean migration route, a “dramatic figure, which demonstrates that unfortunately not enough is being done to save lives at sea.”
Libya and Tunisia are principal departure points for people risking dangerous sea voyages in hopes of reaching Europe, via Italy.
Drowning was the main cause of death on migration routes globally in the first half of 2023, with 2,200 recorded fatalities in the period, according to the IOM report.
The central Mediterranean route was the deadliest, accounting for a total of 1,727 deaths and disappearances along its shores in the period, the IOM report said.
The majority of the deaths were recorded in Tunisia, followed by Libya, it said.
The figures remain an undercount, IOM said in its report.
Sea migrant arrivals to Italy have almost doubled in 2023 compared with the same period last year, with around 140,000 people coming ashore so far. Some 91 per cent came from Tunisia, with the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa bearing the brunt of landings.