According to the Red Crescent, the bodies of at least 85 people who drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea have been found washed up on beaches near the Libyan city of Zuwarah.
Al-Khamis al-Bosaifi, a Red Cresncent Official, said that most of the victims appeared to be from sub-Saharan Africa, though their bodies were decomposed and it was not clear when they had drowned. The bodies of two children were among those recovered.
On Tuesday, the UN refugee agency announced that at least 880 people had drowned over the past week, following a series of shipwrecks as departures from the North African coast towards Italy surged.
Many of the boats are believed to have left from the Libyan coast around Zuwarah and Sabratha, in Libya’s northwest.
People smugglers in Libya have exploited political chaos and lawlessness to expand their activities along routes from sub-Saharan Africa, often working with local armed groups.
So far this year more than 40,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Italy by paying people smugglers for the journey. Refugees and migrants reportedly pay smugglers hundreds of dollars for a place on boats, often flimsy inflatable craft that either sink or are picked up by international rescue missions.
The head of the EU’s Mediterranean naval mission recently said that people smuggling was estimated to account for between 30 and 50 percent of the gross domestic product in northwestern Libya.
- Pray for the victims of people smuggling in north and sub-Saharan Africa, who often give everything they own to people smugglers, only to find themselves risking their lives in unseaworthy boats.
- Pray for those who have lost family trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe. Pray for comfort as they grieve, and for many of these desperate people to find hope and life through Jesus Christ, through the witness of churches and Christians in refugee camps.
- Pray for the new Libyan government as it seeks to find solutions to the people smuggling problem. Pray for wisdom and insight, and for political stability in this nation.
- Pray peace, stability and for an end to war, persecution and poverty in the nations of North and sub-Saharan Africa, which will bring an end to the mass exodus of people seeking safety and a better life across the sea.
- Pray for many in these nations to hear the Gospel, to respond to its truth and come to find life in its fullness through Jesus Christ.
John 10 vs 10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.“