The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that more than 5,000 illegal immigrants have been rescued off the Libyan coast so far this year.

“As of June 26, 5,049 refugees and migrants have been registered as rescued/intercepted at sea in 2020, by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Libya,” Xinhua news agency quoted the UNHCR as saying in a report on Friday.

“By the way of comparison, over the same period in 2019, 3,457 individuals had been disembarked in Libya,” it added.

The UNHCR also said that there are 48,834 refugees and asylum-seekers currently registered with the Agency, adding that funding of $84.1 million was needed for its activities in 2020.

Migrant children

Libya is a preferred point of departure for thousands of illegal immigrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Europe, because of the state of insecurity and chaos in the country that followed the 2011 fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Shelters in Libya are overcrowded with thousands of migrants who are either rescued at sea or arrested by the authorities, despite repeated international calls to close those centres.

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