(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Over 120 bodies have washed up on the shore near the coastal city of Sabratha in July said mayor Hussein Thwadi on Sunday.
Thwadi said that last week about 53 bodies washed up near the city’s shore on a single day and that most of the victims were from sub-Saharan Africa, with the exception of 23 from Tunisia.
Local officials in coordination with volunteers from the Red Crescent have been working to move the bodies of refugees to a cemetery for unidentified individuals in Sabratha.
Thwadi explained that Sabratha’s coast is exposed, and though the city has been able to deploy patrols at its seashores, “they do not have enough capacity to tackle this crisis.”
“Illegal migration existed before, but with insecurity and the lack of state authorities the crisis has become worse and worse,” said Thwadi.
Many refugees are fleeing their countries to escape from violence, oppression or poverty and have used Libya as their gateway towards a stable and secure life in Europe.
So far this year, over 3,000 refugees have died in the Mediterranean on route to Europe from Africa according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Approximately 90,000 migrants have reportedly crossed into Italy from Africa this year alone, which is a 14 percent increase compared to last year as reported by the IOM.
The Libyan UN-backed government based in Tripoli (GNA) has been struggling in managing the refugee crisis in Libya as well as trying to establish security in the country.
Thwadi has communicated with the GNA regarding the refugee crisis but has yet to hear back from them.