Libya struggles as bodies wash ashore

(CNN)They set out full of hope, clutching a few cherished belongings, or the hand of a loved one as they stepped onto the overcrowded, barely seaworthy boats they thought would take them to new lives in Europe.

But within hours, their journeys across the Mediterranean ended in tragedy. Now days, weeks, or even months later, their bodies are washing up on the beaches of Libya.

And with no stable, functioning government to take control of the situation, ordinary Libyans are struggling to cope with the tide of human remains.

Mohammed Misrati, spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent Society in Tripoli, says most of the migrants’ bodies wash up along a stretch of Libya’s western coast, in Zuwara, Khoms and Sabrata — where many of their journeys began.

“We collected 40 bodies in just one operation in Zuwara,” explains Misrati, adding that while he doesn’t have exact numbers, he believes the problem is “much worse” this year.