migrants

Only 10 survivors from a major Mediterranean shipwreck that claimed almost 500 earlier this month have been reported so far, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday in Geneva.

migrantsThe survivors include two Palestinians from Gaza who had floated for days at sea and who first reported the incident in Sicily after they were rescued and brought there Saturday.

So far, only three bodies have been found, IOM spokesman Leonard Doyle said.

Most of the men, women and children on the boat that started from the Egyptian port of Damietta on September 6 were Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese.

Survivors said that people smugglers had sunk the vessel after the passengers had refused to switch to a boat that they deemed unsafe.

The IOM said authorities are checking reports of a second shipwreck involving another 200 missing migrants off the Libyan coast.

The number of migrants who have drowned this year as they tried to make it across the Mediterranean to Europe is approaching 3,000, according to the organization.

“The numbers dying off Europe’s coasts are shocking and unacceptable,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said.

“The risks they take reflect their desperation and we cannot keep abandoning them to their fate,” he added.

GNA

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