UNHCR workers in Tripoli help migrants who survived a shipwreck off the Libyan coast | Photo: ARCHIVE/TWITTER UNHCR
UNHCR workers in Tripoli help migrants who survived a shipwreck off the Libyan coast | Photo: ARCHIVE/TWITTER UNHCR

The United Nations said on Tuesday that its center for vulnerable migrants in Tripoli was severely overcrowded. They are calling on other countries worldwide to take in more refugees.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that the facilities, which have a maximum capacity of 700, currently hold 1,000 people and that living conditions are getting worse. "The infrastructure and services at the GDF (Gathering and Departure Facility) are stretched thin, with deteriorating living conditions that may lead to an unsustainable situation," it warned. 

"UNHCR continues to call for more slots for resettlement, evacuations," the UN agency said in a statement, which asked countries worldwide to take in vulnerable migrants. 

Transit center for migrants 

Set up in December 2018, the center is a transit point for migrants and refugees that had been subjected to arbitrary arrest and identified as "the most vulnerable." The goal is to send these migrants to other, safe countries. 

The number of migrants at the center rose after a July 3 airstrike on the Tajoura detention center east of Tripoli. 53 people were killed in that airstrike. More than 400 people from the Tajoura center arrived at the UNHCR center by foot following the attack. 

894 dead or missing in Mediterranean in 2019 so far

For migrants who try to leave Libya for Europe with the help of traffickers, the journey can be incredibly dangerous. 

Some 894 migrants lost their lives or went missing in the Mediterranean in the first eight months of this year, including 630 along the central Mediterranean route from northern Africa towards Italy, according to the UNHCR. 

In the same period in 2018, some 1,612 lost their lives or gone missing, including 1,116 on the central Mediterranean route. 

As of September 1, 60,460 migrants had arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean Sea this year: 33,999 in Greece, 18,758 in Spain, 5,234 in Italy, 1,585 in Malta and 794 in Cyprus. A total of 11,587 arrived along land routes.
 

More articles