At least 100 people have been reported missing after a boat carrying 130 refugees capsized off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea.
In a Thursday tweet, the international medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, which is also known as MSF by its French name Médecins Sans Frontières, announced the toll, citing testimony from 27 survivors who were brought to safety by the Bourbon Argos ship a day earlier.
“The 27 men now on board the Argos were on board a boat carrying 130 people. They are the only survivors. This tragedy is just unbearable,” the MSF said, adding that the rescuers also recovered seven bodies from the sea.
The incident has raised to 340 the total number of refugees who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since last week. More than 3,200 people have been rescued from crowded and unseaworthy dinghies since Saturday, showing a significant rise in the number of departures from Libya despite worsening weather in the Mediterranean.
The Malta-based charity MOAS, which operates rescue boats in the area, has warned that the recent toll from tragedies involving refugees might be much higher as there is a probability that many boats and dinghies sink without ever being reported.
Italian coast guards and rescuers have managed to rescue more than 167,000 people since the start of 2016. The trend has already outnumbered that of 2015, which saw a total of 153,000 rescued. The highest was recorded in 2014, with 170,000 people rescued from the turbulent Mediterranean.
Under a deal reached with Turkey in March, the European Union has managed to curb the flow of refugees traveling across the Mediterranean to Greece.
However, chaos and lawlessness in Libya has made it almost impossible to stop the influx of refugees to Italy. Refugees have also sought fresh departure points in the south, including on the Egyptian coast.