More than 1,000 migrants rescued by Libyan Coast Guard this year: UNHCR

The rescue ship "Eleonore" sails on the Mediterranean with around 100 migrants on board. The "Eleonore" took in the migrants, off the Libyan coast, on 26.08.2019 /Getty Images
Migrants are rescued off the Libyan coast. (Photo by Johannes Filous via Getty Images)

The United Nations Higher Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) on Friday said that more than 1,000 illegal immigrants have been rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard so far this year.

As of Feb. 6, some 1,040 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued or intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and have disembarked in Libya, an increase of 121 percent compared to the same period in 2019, the UNHCR said.

The UNHCR also said it requires more than 85 million U.S. dollars for its humanitarian operations to assist refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people in Libya.

Due to the state of insecurity and chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, Libya became a preferred point of departure for many illegal immigrants wanting to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward European shores.

Shelters in Libya are currently overcrowded with thousands of immigrants rescued at sea or arrested by the Libyan authorities, despite international calls to close them.