Migrants 'Traumatized' at Sea Rescued After Traffickers Steal Life-Jackets

© AP Photo / Maria Carla GiuglianoMigrants in a dinghy are rescued by the vessel Burbon Argos, run by Doctors Without Borders organization, in the Mediterranean sea, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016
Migrants in a dinghy are rescued by the vessel Burbon Argos, run by Doctors Without Borders organization, in the Mediterranean sea, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
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From sub-Saharan Africa across the Mediterranean Sea - hundreds of migrants are still risking their lives as record numbers arrive in Italy.

The majority of the boats carrying migrants still set sail from the Libyan coast as the number of deaths at sea hit a record high in November, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In the week beginning 14 November 2016, around 365 people were reported to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in three separate shipwrecks.

A child from African origin is rescued from a distressed vessel by a member of Proactiva Open Arms NGO in the mediteranean sea some 20 nautical miles north of Libya on October 3, 2016 - Sputnik International
IOM Sets Up Medical Clinics on Libya's Coast to Treat Migrants Rescued at Sea
​Survivors recently described setting sail from Libya to be then abandoned at sea, robbed of their life-jackets by people smugglers and boat engines removed — leaving them with only hope keeping the boat afloat.

Survivors told Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that they had set off from Tripoli but then the traffickers arrives in a different boat and ordered them to remove their life jackets at gun point before stealing the engine.

"At that point I thought we were going to die," Abdoullae Diallo told MSF. "Without a motor, we couldn't go far. A trafficker told us we would be rescued but I felt like we were going to die."

Some passengers fell overboard, others died from exhaustion as the rubber dinghy was thrashed by the raging sea. A group of around 27 survivors, "exhausted" and "traumatized," were rescued by a British Navy ship.

"They are exhausted, shocked and traumatized," MSF coordinator Michele Delaro told AFP.

​Recent figures from the IOM reveal that more than 4,600 migrants have died in 2016, with 343,589 arriving by sea to Europe, mainly to Italy via Libya across the sea now known as the 'Mediterranean graveyard'.

Sophie Beau, head of SOS Mediterranee says the situation is "critical."

"It is a real humanitarian catastrophe that it taking place before our very eyes. Europe urgently needs to take responsibility and put in place an adequate response."

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