A survivor has testified that about 220 migrants drowned off the coast of Libya in the last few days trying to reach Europe, the United Nations said Thursday, raising the death toll so far this year to more than 1,000.
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On Tuesday, a boat carrying 100 people capsized, leaving only five survivors. The same day, a rubber boat with 130 passengers sank. Only half of those on board survived, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
On Wednesday, people on a boat that was rescued at sea said that more than 50 of the other passengers had died.
"UNHCR is dismayed at the ever-growing numbers of refugees and migrants losing their lives at sea and is calling for urgent international action to strengthen rescue-at-sea efforts by all relevant and capable actors, including NGOs and commercial vessels throughout the Mediterranean," the UNHCR said in a statement.
Hundreds of migrants regularly flee destabilized, violent situations from the coast of Libya, risking their lives to reach European countries.