Over 74 Refugees bodies washed ashore in Libyan western town of Zawiya


The Libyan Red Crescent said the bodies of 74 migrants had washed ashore near the city of Zawiyah, which is a hub for smugglers.

Photographs posted by the Zawiya Red Crescent on Facebook and Twitter showed a long row of black and white body bags lined up near the water's edge.

MigrantsIFRC said that the bodies were found by Libyan Red Crescent volunteers on Monday.

Misrati said the circumstances surrounding the drowning were not yet clear.

Having largely closed off sea crossings between Turkey and Greece previous year, the European Union is searching for ways to stem the flow of migrants from Libya.

According to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 270 people migrating are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean in the first weeks of 2017.

"This is going to be even more disastrous to the migrants", Gassim added.

Dozens of migrants have died in the Mediterranean Sea, the latest victims of the perilous route, NBC News reported.

Earlier this month, Italy set up a fund to help African countries better seal their borders in a bid to keep migrants from boarding flimsy and often deadly rubber boats bound for Europe.

Crossings have continued through the winter, despite treacherous conditions at sea, and the European Union has been partly blamed for spiralling death rates after smugglers switched from wooden fishing vessels to flimsy dinghies that are harder for security agencies to detect.

According to its director, Fabrice Leggeri, the number stood at 4,579 for past year.

Libya has been a largely lawless country since a 2011 uprising sparked a civil-war that led to the killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Rights groups have documented migrants' horror journeys involving torture, rape, and forced labor inside Libya.

Overall, central Mediterranean migrant crossings increased by 17 percent a year ago to 181,459 people, according to statistics.