At least 30 refugees and migrants drowned close to the western shores of Libya after the boats they were in capsized, according to Libyan and Italian media.
Four bodies were recovered while others are still missing, the Libya Observer reports.
Libya’s coast guard reported that over 500 people were rescued from three boats, and that three other boats sank. According to the coast guard, the boats the people were rescued from were set on fire after the refugees were taken to safety.
Elsewhere, the Italian coast guard rescued 910 people in four maritime rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily. In one operation, a group of 132 migrants and a corpse were picked up from a rubber dinghy.
Italian authorities expect that in the first six months of 2016 around 200,000 refugees will try to reach the Italian coast from the African continent.
Photo: AP – Alessandro Di Meo