Rabat – Two boats, estimated to be carrying between 250 and 300 people, have capsized in the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Libya, leaving over 100 dead.Ayoub Qasim, a spokesman for Libya’s coastguard, told Associated Press that the boats sunk around 120 kilometers east of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.He confirmed that 134 people were rescued on Thursday, July 25, but at least 115 others are missing, feared drowned. Authorities are in the process of recovering the bodies. The people who were on board the boats are believed to be from a number of Arab and African countries.However, both the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate the number of dead to be higher, at over 150 people. Urgent: tragic shipwreck may have occurred in the central mediterranean.Nearly 150 migrants are reported missing and 145 more returned to Libyan shore.— IOM Libya (@IOM_Libya) July 25, 2019Filippo Grandi, the head of UNHCR, has called the devastating incident “the worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year.”The worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year has just occurred. Restoring rescue at sea, ending refugee+migrant detention in Libya, increasing safe pathways out of Libya must happen NOW, before it is too late for many more desperate people. https://t.co/XuZJpDtZfv— Filippo Grandi (@RefugeesChief) July 25, 2019 He also called on the EU to resume its operations in order to prevent any more tragedies such as this one. The EU suspended rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea in March, following disagreements over how rescued migrants should be divided between the member states,Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN, echoed a similar sentiment, calling for “safe, legal routes for migrants and refugees.”I am horrified by reports that about 150 people died in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya.We need safe, legal routes for migrants and refugees.Every migrant searching for a better life deserves safety and dignity.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 25, 2019UNHCR estimates that 164 people died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019, making this most recent tragedy with a death toll of up 150 by the worst this year.In May, after 65 people drowned when their boat sank off the coast of Tunisia, the UNHCR Special Envoy for the Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, warned against the dangers of stopping rescue and patrol efforts in the region.“Across the region, we need to strengthen the capacity of search and rescue operations,” said Cochetel. “If we don’t act now, we’re almost certain to see more tragic events in the coming weeks and months.” read more