Nearly 4700 refugees rescued near Libyan coast

Italian coast guard rescue some 4,700 refugees off coast of Libya on Saturday as they were trying to reach European countries

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Italian coast guard rescued nearly 4,700 refugees off the coast of Libya.

Updated Sep 20, 2015

Rescuers saved about 4700 refugees near the coast of Libya on Saturday, according to the Italian coast guard.

Record numbers of refugees have risked their lives this year, fleeing conflict and instability in Africa and the Middle East in small and dangerous boats in an attempt to reach Europe.

Twenty rescue operations picked up 4,343 people from rubber boats and barges off the Libyan coast, according to the Italian coastguard. A woman's body was found in one of the inflatable boats, possible cause of death was not yet determined.

Another rescue operation carried out by Greece picked up 335 refugees who were being directed to a port in Italy to disembark.

Italian coastguard, navy and as well as humanitarian organizations Doctors Without Borders and the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station, German navy and other volunteer vessels were involved in the rescue operations.

Europe is dealing with the biggest influx of refugees since World War II. The UN says the continuing conflicts in the Middle East countries such as Syria is a major factor behind the rise in numbers. Refugees are risking their lives in perilous journeys to flee war, oppression or poverty to reach prosperous Western states.


TRTWorld and agencies