from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – THE number of migrants in Libya has been decreasing in recent months because of the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the North African country is hosting some 584 509 migrants of over 47 nationalities.
This represents a seven percent reduction from March, when the COVID-19 spread was confirmed in March.
The reduction is also attributed to the subsequent socio-economic impact and mobility restrictions.
Most Points of Entry (PoE) have remained closed for entry, except for returning Libyans.
At the same time, several land border crossing points were periodically opened to allow groups of migrants to leave the country.
IOM noted irregular departures were also reported along Libya’s southern borders while stricter security measures and the intensification of controls targeting migrants in irregular situations further contributed to the decreasing number of migrants.
Moreover, in July and August the number of migrants departing from the Libyan shores to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe has increased in comparison to last year.
In July and August, a total of 12 393 migrants arrived in Italy and Malta from Libya and Tunisia.
At least 45 migrants including five children, perished at sea last month.
This is the largest shipwreck off the coast of Libya this year.
The North African country, despite its political problems, is the main point of departure for migrants seeking better economic prospects abroad.
– CAJ News