The Libyan Red Crescent yesterday recovered the bodies of 74 people that had washed ashore near Zawiya on Libya’s northern coast.

It appears that the deceased had been on a inflatable boat attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Boats like these usually hold 120 to 150 people. More bodies are likely to be washed ashore in the coming hours.

20. Feb 2017 Zawiya, Libya The Libyan Red Crescent collected 74 bodies of refugees and migrants washed ashore in Zawiya.

10 Libyan Red Crescent volunteers from the Zawiya branch are helping the local authorities in collecting the bodies of the deceased with dignity, placing them in body bags for transfer to a local hospital.

For the Libyan Red Crescent Zawiya branch this is the highest number of bodies they have collected on one occasion. According to the Red Crescent volunteers, all bodies were men of African origin.

Libya is one the main routes for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean in search of better future. Prior to this latest tragedy, more than 270 people migrating are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean in the first weeks of 2017, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In 2016, more than 5,000 deaths at sea were recorded, making it the deadliest year on record. In the same year, almost 19,000 migrants were rescued in the Libyan waters.

The IFRC calls for collective international action to avert further deaths like these which are tragic and entirely preventable.