The United Nations said on Wednesday that over 14,700 migrants were intercepted and rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard by the end of June, surpassing the number of migrants intercepted and rescued and disembarked in all of 2020.
In its ‘Libya Situation Report’, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that In comparison, over the same period last year, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted and rescued a total of 5,350 refugees and migrants at sea, demonstrating an increase of 77% this year.
In June alone, over 4,523 individuals have been disembarked; hundreds of others have perished at sea, the UN agency said.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) identified a total of 591,415 migrants from over 43 nationalities in the 100 Libyan municipalities in March and April 2021 during, it said.
“During the reporting period, the number of migrants in Libya continued to increase slightly compared to previous rounds of data collection while remaining lower than pre-pandemic levels,” the UN OCHA said.
“This rise is likely the result of a combination of factors, including the gradual ease of mobility restrictions since the beginning of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Libya in mid-April 2021, as well as the improvement in the security situation since the ceasefire agreement and the formation of the government of national unity in March 2021.”
“However, the slow pace of recovery from years of conflict and political instability, and more recently, the impact of the pandemic on the local economy, continue to affect migrants in Libya as well,” it said.
“In addition, given the extreme temperatures during the heat wave in Libya, resulting in power outages across the country, the situation in detention centers, confining over 6,170 migrants and refugees, is extremely inhumane.”
• More migrants & refugees were rescued/intercepted at sea & returned to Libya in the first 6 months of 2021 than in all of 2020.
• Joint UN mission visits eastern Libya.
• #COVID19 cases on the rise.
— OCHA Libya (@OCHA_Libya) July 21, 2021