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170 migrants feared dead after two shipwrecks in Mediterranean

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170 migrants feared dead after two shipwrecks in Mediterranean
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At least 170 people are feared dead after they went missing from two separate shipwrecks on the Mediterranean Sea that left from Libya and Morocco, CNN quoted the United Nations as saying.

"Some 53 people have died on the Alborán Sea, western Mediterranean, according to recent information from NGO sources," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement on Saturday.

"One survivor is understood to have been rescued by a passing fishing boat after being stranded for more than 24 hours at sea and is receiving medical treatment in Morocco."

UNHCR added that rescue vessels from Moroccan and Spanish rescue searched for the boat and survivors "for several days to no avail."

Meanwhile, the non-governmental organization Sea Watch said in a statement Saturday night that there were only three survivors from a shipwreck in the central Mediterranean.

"They say they left Libya on an inflatable dinghy with 120 people. There are 117 people dying or missing," head of the Sea Watch Mission, Kim Heaton-Heather said.

"The three castaways reported to the International Organization for Migration that they had been at sea without assistance for more than three hours before the intervention of the Italian Navy plane."

Scores of migrants were feared missing off the Libyan coast, the International Organization for Migration said on January 19 after the Italian navy flew three survivors to the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa.

The UNHCR said it was "deeply saddened" over the reports and added that it has not been able to independently verify the death toll.

"The tragedy of the Mediterranean cannot be allowed to continue," said UNHCR's Filippo Grandi.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe's doorstep. No effort should be spared, or prevented, from saving lives in distress at sea."

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