25 July 2019

“The horrific news of a major shipwreck today only continues to highlight the extremely high human cost of the current situation in Libya and of the lack of rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean.

Over 100 people are missing, many feared drowned in today shipwreck off Libya, according to the first accounts of survivors treated by MSF teams in Libya. The survivors were rescued by fishermen and returned to Khoms. Eyewitness accounts of those involved in the rescue said they were at least 70 bodies in the water.

Our teams provided medical care to two groups of survivors, respectively of 82 people and 53 people. We stabilized people with the most urgent needs and referred 7 people for life-saving hospital treatment. Patients are in shock and suffer from their nearly drowning (hypoxia and hypothermia).

An urgent response to ensure search and rescue capacities at sea and evacuations out of the country to those attempting to flee Libya is needed to prevent further loss of life.

Two days ago, 38 people intercepted in the Central Mediterranean by the Libyan Coastguard were taken back to detention in Tajoura where just three weeks ago was hit by an airstrike leaving 60 dead and 70 wounded. It was a completely avoidable tragedy.

We are now extremely concerned about the survivors of this latest shipwreck. They cannot be placed in detention centres where their lives are at risk. This was most recently reiterated by IOM, UNHCR and EU leaders who join MSF in the call for the immediate and urgent evacuation of all refugees and migrants held in detention centres across Libya."