volunteers retrieve body from beach

Here we are again.

Just over a year ago, Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson warned about the lack of EU action on the migrant crisis. Now, once again, volunteers in Libya are recovering bodies from the sea.

volunteers retrieve body from beach

Over the weekend, a reported 84 refugees drowned after their inflatable boat sank off the Libyan coast. A further 26 were rescued and taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Late into the night, volunteer teams from Zawiya, Libya, were on the beaches retrieving the bodies of the drowned.

volunteers retrieve body from beach

In all, the bodies of 10 women were collected by these volunteers. One of the women was pregnant.

The survivors of another boat tragedy this weekend were brought to Sicily. Here Italian Red Cross teams provided emergency medical care, food, water and psychological support.

volunteers retrieve body from beach

Karl Pike of the British Red Cross said: “Sadly, tragedies like this have happened before and many more people will continue to face the difficult choice of whether to try and reach Europe by sea. They underline the urgent need for safe and legal routes to Europe for people seeking protection.”

volunteers retrieve body from beach

Often, bodies are washed ashore in hard-to-reach places. The teams do their best to manage the bodies of the deceased safely and with dignity.

Mohammed Al Mosrati of the Libyan Red Crescent said: “Unfortunately, as weather conditions are improving, the Libyan shores have come to witness more and more boat tragedies.

“Last month alone, the Red Crescent provided aid and medical care to more than 250 rescued migrants.”

volunteers retrieve body from beach

More than 27,000 people have arrived in Europe from Libya so far this year. This suggests the lethal crossing from northern Africa will again become a primary route for migrants.

In 2015, more than 150,000 people made the same journey.

The Italian Red Cross has teams across Italy’s ports and reception centres, on hand to provide vital support to rescued migrants.

volunteers tend to body in mortuary

Images ©Mohannad Karimeh / Libyan Red Crescent.