54 refugees die of thirst in sea voyage; one man survives

Some 54 people have died of thirst trying to reach Italy from Libya by sea.

The UN Refugee Agency said that only one person had survived the 15-day voyage in which their rubber boat gradually deflated.

The man, who was rescued by Tunisian coastguards, is said to be in a state of advanced dehydration and was found clinging to the remains of the boat.

He told officials that many drank seawater as their desperation grew, which worsened their thirst.

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