Migrants after capsizing their boat in the Mediterranean, Wednesday November 11, 2020. -

Sergi Camara / AP / SIPA

A shipwreck off the coast of Libya has left at least 74 dead, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement on Thursday, as searches to find all the victims continue off the plagued country. chaos.

"Members of the IOM have reported a terrible shipwreck which left at least 74 dead today [Thursday] off Khoms on the Libyan coast", underlines the UN agency in its press release, specifying that 47 survivors were brought ashore by the Libyan coast guard and fishermen.

A shipwreck off the Libyan coast tragically claimed more than 70 lives today😢.



IOM reaffirms that #Libya is not a safe port for return and urges urgent action to end this cycle of exploitation👉 https://t.co/48kqohp5XK pic.twitter.com/ Gm8Yrts1Nj

- IOM - UN Migration (@ONUmigration) November 12, 2020

So far, 31 bodies have been recovered and "the search for the other victims is continuing," said IOM.

Almost a thousand drowned since the beginning of the year

In the last two days 19 people, including two children, have drowned after two boats capsized, the agency said, adding that the NGO Open Arms ship - the only one currently operating in the central Mediterranean - saved 200 people in three operations.

Since the start of the year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, according to IOM.

More than 11,000 others were returned to Libya, "at the risk of exposing them to human rights violations, detention, abuse, [human] trafficking and exploitation," denounces the UN agency in its press release.

Despite persistent insecurity since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, this North African country remains an important transit point for migrants - largely African - who want to reach Europe at all costs.

NGOs regularly reiterate their opposition to migrants arrested at sea being brought back to Libya due to the chaos there and denounce the deplorable conditions in the detention centers.

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