Beirut/Geneva, 21 February – The Libyan Red Crescent has recovered the bodies of 74 people who washed ashore yesterday (20 February), near Zawiya on Libya’s northern coast.

Photos are available for download here.

It appears that the deceased had been on a boat attempting to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. A torn rubber dinghy was reportedly found nearby.

Libyan Red Crescent volunteers collected the bodies of the deceased with dignity, placing them in body bags for transfer to a local hospital.

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.

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

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Media contacts

In Beirut

Stephen Ryan, Communications Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, +961 71 802779, Stephen.ryan@ifrc.org

In Geneva

Matthew Cochrane, Manager, Media and Advocacy/Spokesperson, +41 79 251 8039, matthew.cochrane@ifrc.org

Melissa Winkler, Senior Officer, Media and Advocacy, +41 79 703 7553, melissa.winkler@ifrc.org

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