GENEVA- At least 43 West African migrants trying to reach Europe drowned off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, after their boat capsized in rough seas, in the first shipwreck of 2021 in the central Mediterranean, United Nations agencies said on Wednesday.
Ten survivors were rescued and brought to shore by coastal security in Zuwahra, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said in a joint statement.
War-ravaged Libya is a major route for migrants seeking to reach Europe. The U.N. agencies called for reactivating state-led search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and for a halt to returning migrants to "unsafe ports".
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay) ((Stephanie.Nebehay@thomsonreuters.com; +41 58 306 2161; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com; twitter @StephNebehay))