Tripoli: The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced that there are currently 42,210 registered refugees and asylum-seekers in Libya.
So far in 2021, a total of 20,799 refugees and immigrants have been rescued at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday citing the UNHCR as saying.
Meanwhile, a total of 19,393 illegal migrants, including women and children, have been rescued, while 360 died and 570 went missing off the Libyan coast on the Central Mediterranean route.
“The number of people returned to Libya in July 2021 has more than tripled compared to the same period last year, which may be attributed to the periodic easing of movement restrictions for Covid-19, as well as calmer sea conditions,” the Agency added.
Libya has been suffering insecurity and chaos since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, which makes the North African country a preferred point of departure for illegal migrants who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea to European shores.
Up to 90 per cent of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe depart from Libya.
Rescued migrants end up inside overcrowded reception centres across Libya, despite repeated international calls to close them.
There are currently 223,949 internally displaced Libyans, according to the UNHCR.