More than a thousand more are believed to have drowned in just the first half of the year

Two vessels rescued around 190 Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, off the coast of Libya, charities operating the vessels said Monday. The rescues came amid a spike in attempted crossings of the Mediterranean Sea, the Associated Press reports.

More than 24,000 migrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya by the country’s coast guard so far this year, according to the U.N. migration agency. That’s more than double the number from 2020, when about 11,890 migrants were brought back to shore in the conflict-ridden country.

More than a thousand more are believed to have drowned in just the first half of the year, according to the agency’s figures.

Migrants waved to rescuers from a flimsy rubber dinghy at midday Monday before they were given life vests and transferred onboard the Geo Barents, a rescue vessel operated by the charity Doctors without Borders. They numbered 54 in total, according to Barbara Deck, the organization’s project coordinator.

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