The International Organisation for Migration, IOM, said it rescued no fewer than 600 people since April 2017 through a new search and rescue operation that targeted migrants stranded in Sahara Desert.
The UN migration agency, however, regretted that 52 migrants, mostly from The Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, died over the period, according to its statement on Tuesday. 23 survivors have been noted. “Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever. “Since the beginning of the year we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route,” Giuseppe Loprete, Niger Chief of Mission for IOM, said.
“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border. “They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north,” Loprete said.
IOM said it had recorded 52 deaths since it launched a new project “Migrants Rescue and Assistance in Agadez Region” (MIRAA) in April.