শুক্রবার, ০৫ মার্চ ২০২১, ০১:১৪ অপরাহ্ন
The death toll of Bangladeshi nationals in Libya boat capsize has risen to 24, including three children, UNB reports quoting a Bangladeshi diplomat.
“The death toll (of Bangladesh nationals) is so far 24,” Ashraful Islam, counsellor (labour) at the Bangladesh Embassy to Libya, now relocated to Tunisia, told the news agency over phone from Tripoli yesterday.
He said there were 78 Bangladesh nationals, including women and children, in the two boats. Of them, 54 were rescued alive.
Ashraful said Bangladesh has sought support from the International Organisation for Migra-tion (IOM) to send home the rescued Bangladeshis.
“So far, we’ve got 20 Bangladesh nationals who want to go back to Bangladesh,” the counsellor said. The rest of the rescued people will stay
back if their documents are found valid, he added.
Earlier on Friday, Ashraful Islam told UNB over phone from Libya that the death toll was eight. He, however, confirmed the latest deaths on the basis of conversations with victims’ relatives.
The diplomat said the rescued women and children, who were kept in the embassy’s custody, were handed over to their relatives yesterday. He, however, could not give detailed identities of the victims.
Meanwhile, the rescued men are being kept at a Tripoli detention centre, said a BBC report on Saturday. Bangladesh embassy officials were not allowed to see the dead bodies yet as they could not secure permission through diplomatic channel, it said.
On August 27, around 2am, two boats carrying about 400-500 migrants, including sever-al Bangladeshis, capsized off the Libyan coastal town of Zuwara, located around 300 km west of Tripoli, while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
A Bangladesh embassy team, led by Ashraful Islam, is coordinating medical and humanitarian support, said the Foreign Ministry in Dhaka.
The migrants were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guards and extended treatment facilities. The rescued Bangladeshis include four families with children. The first boat, which capsized early on Thursday, had nearly 100 people on board. The second, which sank later, was carrying about 400 passengers.
Rescuers have, meanwhile, pulled 111 bodies from the water and saved 198 people, according to an official with the Red Crescent.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged all governments involved to provide comprehensive responses, expand safe and legal channels of migration and act with humanity, compassion and in accordance with their international obligations.
“I commend those leaders and communities who have stepped up to our shared responsibilities and obligations. But much more is required,” he said in a statement on recent refugee and migrant tragedies that claimed many lives in Libya and Austria.
Ban Ki-moon said he is horrified and heartbroken at the latest loss of lives of refugees and mi-grants in the Mediterranean and Europe.
“This is a human tragedy that requires a determined collective political response. It’s a crisis of solidarity, not a crisis of numbers,” said the UN chief in the statement issued on Friday.
The UN Secretary General said he saw the grim discovery of the bodies of more than 70 people inside a truck abandoned near the Austrian border with Hungary and reports indicate that many of the victims were Syrian asylum seekers, including children.
“Let’s also remember: the high number of refugees and migrants are a symptom of deeper problems – endless conflict, grave violations of human rights, tangible governance failures and harsh repression. The Syrian war, for example, has just been manifested on a roadside in the heart of Europe,” he said.
In addition to upholding responsibilities, the international community must also show greater determination in resolving conflicts and other problems that leave people little choice but to flee, he said. Failing that, the numbers of those displaced – more than 40,000 per day – will only rise, he mentioned.
The UN chief said these issues will be an area of focus and priority when world leaders gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York next month for the opening of the General Assembly. “I’m organising a special meeting devoted to these global concerns on September 30,” he mentioned.
On Friday, the United Nations refugee agency said the number of refugees and migrants cross-ing the Mediterranean to reach Europe has surpassed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 during the whole of 2014.