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Many people have lost their lives trying to cross Libya to Europe

Dozens rescued from rubber boat drifting in Mediterranean

Ninety-seven people, including 28 unaccompanied minors, have been rescued from an overcrowded rubber boat that was drifting in the Mediterranean 30 miles off the Libyan coast, charity Sea-Watch International says.

It is believed that the boat had set off from Libya.

Crew on the search and rescue ship Sea-Watch 4 spotted the vessel on Sunday morning, spokesperson Oliver Kulikowski told the BBC.

Those rescued were exhausted and dehydrated, he added.

Their nationalities are not yet known as they are currently recovering from their ordeal before being assessed, Mr Kulikowski said.

It is not clear where they will be taken.

The rescue comes four days after at least 45 migrants and refugees, including five children, died in the deadliest shipwreck off Libya this year, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

At the time, both the UNHCR and International Organization for Migration (IOM) called for search and rescue efforts for migrants to be stepped up.

They said that without a dedicated search and rescue operation mechanism, more lives would be lost in the Mediterranean.

Sea-Watch 4 is run by a coalition of charities, including Medecins Sans Frontieres, under the banner United4Rescue.

More than 300 people are known to have died trying to cross the sea from Libya to Europe this year, with the actual figure believed to be much higher.

Since the 2011 overthrow and killing of its former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has become a key transit country for migrants.

But conditions for migrants there are dangerous, with the UNHCR and the IOM warning they were “at risk of the ongoing conflict, severe human rights violations, and arbitrary detention post-disembarkation”.

Source: BBC

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