World Bulletin / News Desk
Fifty four people trying to reach Italy from Libya died of thirst after a 15-day voyage in which their rubber boat gradually deflated, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday, citing the sole survivor.
It said the man, an Eritrean national, was rescued by Tunisian coastguards in a state of advanced dehydration clinging to the remains of the boat after being spotted by fishermen the previous night, the agency said.
The man said he left Libya towards the end of June as part of a 55-strong group, half of whom came from Eritrea.
"He told us that there were immediately problems on the boat, that unfortunately they weren't even allowed to take a bottle of water and so once they got lost and the voyage went on, people started to feel unwell and die because of the lack of water," U.N. spokeswoman Laura Boldrini told SkyTG24 television.
"How is it possible that in a sea like the Mediterranean which is full of fishing boats, cargo ships, naval ships, these people were just left to their fate like that," she said.
The survivor, who was taken to a hospital in Zarzis in southeastern Tunisia, told UNHCR officials the craft nearly reached the coast of Italy but was driven back by strong winds and began to deflate after a few days.
As their desperation grew, many drank sea water, which worsened their thirst, he told the officials.
The incident is the latest in a long series of disasters which have killed thousands of migrants attempting to reach southern Europe from North Africa in small, unstable and frequently overcrowded boats.
According to the UNHCR, around 170 people have died this year trying to reach Europe from Libya. Around 1,300 have reached Italy by sea since the beginning of 2012 and another 1,000 people have reached Malta.
Statement by Iraqi PM says Iraqi security forces captured western and southern parts of Tikrit.
Despite his success in French local elections, it is too early to talk about a Nicolas Sarkozy candidacy for the 2017 presidential election, say experts.
The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared victory for its candidate, Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria's bitterly contested presidential election
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Tuesday pledged $500 million in humanitarian aid to help ease the crisis in Syria.
The Dutch meteorological office issued a code red warning for the low-lying country's northern and coastal provinces, as gusts of up to 120 kilometres (75 miles) an hour battered the Netherlands.
With the court swamped with investigations in Africa and prosecutors already struggling to secure convictions, legal experts say they need to be absolutely certain before proceeding with a highly politicised case againstIsrael.
A source from Mostafa's office told AA that the deputy PM, who also serves as economy minister, presented his resignation during a Palestinian cabinet meeting in Ramallah on Tuesday
The official asserted that Abbas had not intended to call for Arab military intervention in the Gaza Strip, which since 2007 has been governed by resistance movement Hamas
Syrian state television put the number killed at 44 and said 21 others had been wounded in the attack on Mabouja, a 60-km (40 mile) drive east of Hama. A Syrian military source said the army had repelled the assault on Tuesday.
Iraqi forces have retaken the Salaheddin provincial government headquarters in Tikrit from the ISIL , a significant advance in the battle to recapture the city, officials said Tuesday.
Displaced Pakistanis begin returning to homes in North Waziristan after nine months away
A strike early on Tuesday near Sanaa airport blew a large crater in a group of five houses, witnesses said. There were no casualties, suggesting the buildings had been empty since a deadly raid in the same area last week.
Aiming to seal preliminary deal by Tuesday midnight with diplomats fear opportunity will be lost if no deal today
Explosions and heavy gunfire was heard in the Shida and al-Hisama districts of Saada province and near the town of Haradh in neighbouring Hajja province.
Suggests sanctions could change depending on whether North takes 'concrete action' to address kidnappings of Japan nationals.