While many of those rescued may later have made new attempts to sail to Europe – and some of those may have perished – IOM, through its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, was able to repatriate some 3,000 migrants to sub-Saharan Africa in 2016. Many of those returnees had previously been rescued at sea.
IOM Libya reports that the majority of rescue-at-sea operations have taken place in the western part of the country, with 13,024 people rescued off Az Zawiyah, 1,933 off Tripoli, 1,803 off Sabratha, 1,681 off Zuwara and 505 off Al Khums.
Despite harsh winter weather and rough seas, migrants continue to embark on the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. So far in 2017, 184 migrants have been rescued at sea, despite the Coast Guard’s lack of seaworthy vessels and equipment.
On 2 January, 119 migrants, including 87 men, 26 women and 6 children, were rescued off Al Khums. On 4 January, 65 migrants, including 60 men and 5 women, were rescued and five bodies were retrieved off Tripoli.
Following the rescue operations, IOM distributed non-food items, including mattresses, pillows, winter blankets, clothes and shoes to the rescued migrants.
IOM will be organizing first aid courses for three local Coast Guard offices in the most affected western area of the country. It is also working to increase emergency assistance to rescued migrants.
For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600388, Email: email@example.com