Dramatic photos show refugees fleeing Libya being rescued at sea

Startling images have emerged of refugees being rescued off the coast of Libya, showing what has become an everyday occurrence in the southern Mediterranean Sea over the past three years. Photographs show Italian rescuers coming to

Startling images have emerged of refugees being rescued off the coast of Libya, showing what has become an everyday occurrence in the southern Mediterranean Sea over the past three years.

Photographs show Italian rescuers coming to the aid of asylum seekers on a smuggling boat that was so overcrowded that several had been forced to dangle their legs over the side. During the commotion of the rescue, some leapt into the water to reach safety.

The images were taken during the rescue on Monday of approximately 3,000 people, many from Eritrea and Somalia, who had set off in about 20 wooden fishing boats a few hours earlier.

Boats_libya 2The scenes highlight the dangerous tactics of Libyan smugglers, who put so many people on each repurposed fishing trawler that it is highly unlikely the migrants will reach Italy without being rescued by the charity boats and military missions operating in the area.

While the numbers migrating between Turkey and Greece has fallen substantially since March, after the completion of an agreement between the EU and Turkey, crossings between Libya and Italy remain at near-record levels. More than 100,000 people have left north Africa for Italy so far this year, on a par with last year’s rate, and only slightly less than the record figures in 2014.

Boats_ libya 3Most of the migrants this year are fleeing war and poverty in Nigeria and Ivory Coast, or dictatorships in Eritrea and Gambia. Others are migrant workers who hoped to make a living in Libya, but were forced to flee the country due to the civil war there, and the ensuing breakdown of law and order.

Migrants in Libya often work in conditions that amount to slave labour. Others are kidnapped for ransom, and many are tortured. In a recent interview on a Mediterranean rescue ship, aid workers from Médecins Sans Frontières said the wounds that migrants bore were often indescribable.

“You can have the biggest imagination in the world, and you can’t imagine the kind of violence they’ve been subjected to,” Paola Mazzoni, an MSF doctor, said in June.

Without the money for a plane ticket home, thousands opt to make for Europe instead of journeying back through the Sahara to their countries of origin, in a deadly desert trek that is considered even more dangerous than the voyage across the Mediterranean.

Since 2014, charities such as MSF, the Migrant Offshore Aid Station and Save the Children – as well as anti-smuggling missions run by European navies – have attempted to rescue those risking the sea journey. Critics say they are encouraging more migrants to make the journey – but when rescues were suspended in early 2015, more migrants left Libya than ever before, and more migrants drowned.

This month, an MSF boat was attacked and raided by the Libyan navy for reasons that remain unclear.

The Guardian

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6 COMMENTS
  • AHMED SALEH !!! August 29, 2016

    Eritrean refugees who traveled to Libya from Sudan primary goal had been focused particularly
    to reach Europe . This life threatening sea crossing risky mission took many lives so far and people for some reason keep following the same route .
    Current number of Eritreans inside Libya and those waiting for their turn to join similar fate from Sudan or Ethiopia made the crisis more complicated . Tragic incidents and number of death will climb which we can not deny facts from observing the whole scenario .
    His excellency Eritrean president Issayas once quoted by saying ;
    ” THERE ARE LEAVING FOR PICNIC AND THEY WILL COME BACK ” . A statement of psychopath
    authoritarian leader to make a joke at young generation desperate decisions instead he focus on
    how to address critical social issues .

    • k.tewolde August 30, 2016

      Haw Ahmed,the Lou Hefner of Eritrea doesn’t have time addressing critical social issues of his decomposing empire,he just laughs watching the videos of his victims in his playboy mansion ab adi halo in the company of few monkeys,kishas and plenty of young bunnies.

    • Berhe Tensea August 30, 2016

      Ahmed,
      You muay add also that ‘izeom keydom hager zegodla yeblan”

  • Rasu August 30, 2016

    This is the image of Eritrea now. This just came open to the world now but this tragedy has been going on for the last 25 years some say the last fifty years.
    Eritrea is the shame of the African and “Arabic” world. Nothing surprising, we have been taking orders from the worthless savages of this world.

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