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As many as 15 migrants die in boat off Libya

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

MISURATA – Fifteen migrants have died in a boat off the Libyan coast after spending 12 days at sea without food or water, an Egyptian survivor told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We were 25 migrants on a boat … We set off from (the western Libyan town of) Sabratha and we were at sea for 12 days without food and water,” he said, speaking in the western city of Misurata, and added “15 have died.”

The owner of a beach chalet found the migrants washing up on the shore near the city of Misurata and called authorities, who brought them to the Red Crescent relief service and hospitals, residents said.

Residents said 10 migrants appeared to be in very poor health. No more details or comment from authorities were immediately available.

Libya’s western coast is a departure point for mainly sub-Saharan African migrants fleeing wars and poverty and hoping for new lives in Europe.

But since last year, the number of migrants reaching Italy has fallen sharply as smuggling networks inside Libya have been disrupted and the European Union has stepped up efforts to boost Libyan coastguard patrols.

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