Refugee boats capsized
Hundreds of migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast in 2017.Reuters

In another incident that highlights the dangers of the ongoing refugee crisis, more than 80 African migrants are feared dead after a boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia. The boat from Libya was heading to Europe, according to the UN refugee agency.

In a statement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday, more than 80 people drowned in the incident. The agency also said Tunisian fishermen rescued four people. It was reported that one of the survivors died later in the hospital.

Survivors told the Tunisian coast guard that the boat was rescued off the port town of Zarzis. They said the boat had set off from Libya and dozens of passengers drowned. One of them revealed that they had set off from Zuwara in Libya, reported BBC. 

"Nobody puts their lives and the lives of their families at risk on these desperate boat journeys unless they feel they have no other choice," said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Mediterranean, said in a statement.

"We need to provide people with meaningful alternatives that stop them from needing to step foot on a boat in the first place," reported Reuters.

Around 53 people were killed and 130 were wounded after an airstrike hit a migrant detention camp in Tripoli on Tuesday, according to the World Health Organisation.

Libya is the main point of departure to Europe from Africa. A large number of people have sought to flee the country after ruler Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011, plunging the country into a state of emergency and violence-driven crisis.

Last May, around 65 people died after a boat heading towards Europe from Libya capsized off Tunisia, reported Reuters.

Around 70.8 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations in 2018, according to a recent UN refugee agency report.