Migrants die of suffocation near Libyan coast

TMP – 10/03/2017

The bodies of 13 migrants who died of suffocation in a shipping container have been recovered near a town in western Libya, the Red Crescent in Libya said on 23 February. Among those who died were two teenagers.

Some of the 56 migrants who survived were, according to the Red Crescent, “suffering from various injuries and fractures and needed immediate medical attention”.

The migrants were found in the early morning on 21 February in the coastal town of Khoms, east of the Libyan capital Tripoli. According to aid officials they had been trapped for four days in the metal container.

The shipping container was being transported from the central town of Bani Walid to the coastal town of Khoms, from where smugglers were planning to send the migrants on boats across the Mediterranean. But before reaching the coast, the traffickers unloaded the human cargo outside a detention centre for migrants in Khoms.

“When volunteers arrived, they provided first aid, psychological first aid, food and blankets for the 56 survivors, among them a five-year-old girl called Aisha,” a Red Crescent spokesman in Khoms said.

Migrant deaths on Libya’s coast continue to rise, reaching over 300 within the last two months. Earlier this month, the bodies of 74 migrants were found on the shore near Zawiya, west of Tripoli, after reportedly being stuck at sea on a rubber dinghy with no motor.