IOM Provides Body Bags to Libyan Red Crescent for Drowned Migrants

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Libya – As the political crisis in Libya worsens, ongoing violence continues to trigger large scale displacement. Many migrants from the region and beyond continue to try to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of safety in Europe. This puts them in grave danger and is stretching Libya’s limited resources.

From both the North African and European side, coastguards are involved in significant search and rescue efforts.  On 26 January 2016, Italian coastguard units rescued 1,271 migrants from rubber and wooden boats in several operations off Libya.

In January alone, 90 people died on the dangerous crossing, most of them from Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

IOM is supporting the Libyan Red Crescent (LRC) in its efforts to provide dignified burials for bodies found at sea. This includes provision of 1,180 body bags from the Netherlands.

The LRC body recovery and management team works in hazardous environments to recover bodies washed ashore. The team takes the bodies to the Tripoli Medical Centre and from there to the morgue.

iom crossing picsThe LRC operation assists with identifying missing migrants by documenting body-collecting operations at sea and providing information to other partners in the hope that loved ones can be contacted.

The body bags were procured as part of the START project: “Stabilizing at-risk communities and enhancing migration management to enable smooth transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya” funded by the European Union.

The 2016 Libya Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) identified large numbers of people in need of protection from human traffickers and smugglers. IOM Tripoli is appealing for USD$26 million to support the most vulnerable migrants in Libya in 2016.

For further information please contact Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya, Tel: + 216 29 600 389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Maysa Khalil, Tel. +216 296 00388, Email: mkhalil @iom.int

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