IOM Aids Migrants, Refugees Rescued off Libyan Coast

Libya - IOM Libya is helping some 3,500 migrants and refugees intercepted at sea by the Libyan authorities between 22-28 May in several rescue operations near al-Zawyia and Sabratha. They were subsequently transferred to the Abu Eissa and Al Shuhada detention centres in al-Zawyia.

On Sunday 29 May, IOM distributed 600 hygiene kits and 600 non-food item (NFI) relief kits which included mattresses, pillows and blankets to 200 people in Abu Eissa and 569 people in Al Shuhada. IOM Libya’s psychosocial support team carried out the distributions with local NGO partners.

IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi said that he was concerned about the rising number of maritime incidents involving migrants and refugees off the Libyan coast.

“In the last couple of years, we have recorded missing and dead migrants, sympathised with the families and issued statements about what should be done to stop these tragedies. But unfortunately all these efforts so far have not decreased the number of migrant deaths at sea,” he said.

He emphasized the need to provide local agencies with the necessary support and reiterated calls for more international coordination to build up the capacity of the Libyan coast guard to carry out rescue operations. More support was also needed in improving onshore transit facilities which host the migrants and provide them with basic care.

The large number of migrants brought in over the last week has put a severe strain on the ability of Libyan agencies to respond. The capacity of the detention centres is severely strained, especially in al-Zawyia, where, one centre with a capacity to host 1,000, is currently hosting 2,000 people.

Local humanitarian organizations are urgently requesting supplies, including hygiene kits, blankets, pillows, clothing, shoes, diapers and baby formula. There is also an urgent need for medical assistance for the detainees.

IOM is currently working to secure more hygiene kits and NFIs for distribution to the migrants in the detention centres as the numbers continue to rise.

For more information, please see DTM Libya's latest flash report at:

For further information, please contact Othman Belbeisi at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: