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Civility submerged

· ​Two hundred more refugees and migrants swallowed by the Mediterranean ·

There are more than two hundred confirmed deaths from Thursday afternoon’s tragedy in the Mediterranean, the latest among countless which continue to transform the Sea into a vortex which swallows both lives and civility. The Libyan Coast Guard, as quoted in The Guardian, a British daily which has been following the event by the hour, reported to have identified a double shipwreck near the shores of Zuwara, a Libyan city on the border of Tunisia. The bodies of more than 40 people were found in the hold of a barge which had run aground, while another hundred seventy bodies were found floating in the sea. As of press time 82 bodies had been recovered. So far 198 people have been saved by rescuers in Zuwara. It has been reported that with the boat carrying over 400 people, there was also an inflatable boat carrying 120 more, which has sunk and is unfortunately likely to bring to light even more tragic consequences in terms of the double disaster.

The sinking only several nautical miles from Libya – neither of the two vessels was even one mile from Zuwara – of boats bound for the European coast now seems commonplace. It is increasingly evidenced by the flow of refugees and migrants, compelled by desperation, war, persecution, hunger, and forced to rely upon human traffickers, who force them out to sea in vessels increasingly less seaworthy. On Wednesday, more than 50 dead bodies were discovered on board rescue boats by the Swedish ship Poseidon. On Friday the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that so far this year some 2,500 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean, and that more than 300,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe.

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Jan. 18, 2018

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