Libya is a hub for illegal migration. Many are leaving its shores in makeshift boats in the hope of reaching Europe.
Twenty-two migrants, including three children, all from Mali, have died in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya, the UN said on Tuesday, citing survivors who reported deaths from drowning and dehydration.
After nine days at sea in a dinghy, 61 survivors, mostly from Mali, were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard and brought ashore, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said. /p>
The migrants had embarked in the Libyan town of Zouara, near the Tunisian border, on a dinghy on June 22, the IOM spokeswoman said, Safa Msehli.
After nine days at sea, they were picked up by the Libyan Coast Guard, she said. They were brought ashore on Saturday.
According to survivors, 22 migrants, all from Mali, died during the journey. The reported causes of death are drowning and dehydration. Among the dead are three children, the spokeswoman added.
The total number of survivors is 61, the majority of whom are from Mali, she said.< /p>
The spokesperson added that some migrants were in very poor health and were therefore taken to hospitals by the IOM.
The remaining migrants were taken to Al-Maya detention center, she said.
Libya has become a key route for the illegal migration to Europe in the chaotic years following the 2011 overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising.
While many migrants drowned at sea, thousands more were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard, supported by Italy and the European Union, and returned to Libya.< /p>