Africa

Migrant crisis: 100 feared dead off Libya coast

A migrant boat off Libya, 5 Nov 16 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Migrants often set off from Libya in crowded, unstable boats like this one

At least 100 migrants are feared dead after another Mediterranean shipwreck off the Libyan coast.

A rescue ship, the Bourbon Argos, managed to pick up 27 survivors, the aid organisation MSF tweeted. Seven bodies were recovered.

This week's migrant death toll at sea now stands at more than 340 people, according to Malta-based charity MOAS.

But the true toll is probably much higher, as not all migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean are detected.

Image copyright Msf
Image caption MSF tweeted this photo of survivors being helped by the charity at sea

The number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean this year has reached almost 4,300 - higher than the death tolls for previous years.

Warring militias and abuses by people smugglers have made Libya particularly hazardous for migrants. Many of them are sub-Saharan Africans fleeing poverty and war.

Migrant arrivals to Italy this year, now at about 167,000, already surpass last year's total of 154,000.

Vessels chartered by Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are engaged in rescuing migrants off Libya, as are European warships in the EU's Operation Sophia.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.