Dozens of bodies are are recovered every month from beaches all along Libya’s west coast. They are almost invariably migrants who would have died on the way to Europe. They are nameless and their deaths don’t even get reported.
Over the past month, Migrant Report tracked the number of bodies recovered by different branches of the Libyan Red Crescent (LRC), the main organisaiton involved in the recovery of these bodies from a 360km stretch of coast between Misurata and the border with Tunisia.
In July alone, the number stands at about 66. None of these deaths made the news. Difficult communication with volunteers and other sources scattered across this vast area makes it hard to pin down details, however, the number is a conservative estimate backed up by multiple sources or photographic evidence of the recovery.
The process has become a gruesome routine, says LRC President Maher Daoub. “This is happening on daily basis, we expect it everyday. It happens so often it has become normal, we are no longer surprised by bodies of migrants washing up,” he said.
The LRC had no information on this report but could not deny it either. The alert was raised on July 14 by a spokesman for the capital’s anti-immigration department.
He said the bodies were believed to be of sub-Saharan migrants. They were taken to the morgue at the Tripoli Medical Centre. Officials there also could not confirm the information.
They asked for an official request for information but no reply was forthcoming at the time of writing. However, a source at the morgue said nobody was keeping track of the dead.
“The truth is the centre is swamped, not just with these bodies but with several other problems related to the living. It’s a question of priorities,” the source said.