2,700 migrants rescued in Libya

No fewer than 2,700 migrants being conveyed in 13 boats were on Thursday, rescued near the coast of Libya, Italy’s Coast Guard said.

It said that a German navy vessel and a search and rescue ship deployed by medical charity, Medecins Sans Frontieres, participated in the rescue along with it and the Italian navy.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard said the rescue was carried out in an area about 55 kilometres from the coast of Libya.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said an estimated 150,000 migrants had reached Europe by sea so far in 2015, most of them in Greece and Italy.

“More than 1,900 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean, twice the toll during the same period, last year,” the organisation’s spokesman, Joel Millman, said.

The UN refugee agency said on Friday that Greece urgently needed help to cope with 1,000 migrants arriving each day.

The vast majority of the migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East depart from Libya, where human traffickers have taken advantage of a breakdown in order to build a lucrative business.

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