Dozens of Migrants Die After Boat Sinks Off Tunisian Coast


Seventy-six migrants have been presumed useless after their boat, which departed from Libya, sank off the coast of Tunisia, the United Nations migration company mentioned on Wednesday.

“Sadly they’re rather a lot,” mentioned Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the company, the International Organization for Migration. “But in addition sadly, this isn’t something new.”

The boat carried about 100 folks when it left the Libyan port metropolis of Zuwara almost definitely certain for Italy, and solely 24 of them have been rescued, the Tunisian department of the I.O.M. mentioned on Twitter. The Tunisian Coast Guard, which rescued the shipwrecked folks on Tuesday, solely discovered one individual useless within the water, Mr. Di Giacomo mentioned, including that the 75 different individuals who went lacking have been definitely additionally useless.

“Within the sea folks drown in jiffy,” he mentioned.

The shipwreck brings the full variety of deaths within the central Mediterranean Sea this yr to over 650, in response to the I.O.M., a determine just like the one from the identical interval final yr.

“We’re constant,” mentioned Mr. Di Giacomo. “Folks hold dying precisely like final yr.”

In a separate incident late Tuesday, a ship from the Spanish N.G.O. Open Arms, which operates search and rescue operations at sea, discovered one other boat in bother close to Tunisian territorial waters, the N.G.O. mentioned on Twitter. The group mentioned its personnel tried to distribute life vests to the passengers, who numbered greater than 100, and known as for assist to Italy and Malta, however as they waited for a response, the overcrowded, wood boat, that had already taken on water, capsized, and the migrants fell at sea.

The group mentioned it rescued the migrants from the water, however officers weren’t positive if a few of them went lacking.

“It was evening, and we couldn’t know for positive if there have been any corpses or not,” mentioned Laura Lanuza, a spokeswoman for the N.G.O., including that the migrants had departed from the Libyan port of Abu Kammash and have been headed to Italy. “It was a extremely dramatic scenario.”

On Wednesday, 110 migrants have been on board the group’s Astral crusing boat, however Gerard Canals, the group’s head of operations, mentioned they didn’t have house, meals or water for all the folks on board.

“We want a protected port to disembark them,” Mr. Canals said in a Twitter video. “We want the authorities to behave instantly and to supply a protected port.”

This yr, 17,900 migrants arrived in Italy by boat, in contrast with 13,700 in the identical interval final yr, in response to the Inside Ministry. Regardless of efforts by the European Union to restrict the variety of African migrants and asylum seekers, hundreds nonetheless undertake this harmful journey, although the numbers are dwarfed by these of 2016. In that yr, on the peak of the migrant disaster, greater than 180,000 folks arrived in Italy by sea.

Mr. Di Giacomo, the I.O.M. spokesman, mentioned that the relative enhance this yr doesn’t justify alarms a few “worrisome enhance in arrivals by sea.”

However he added that whereas Europe doesn’t face an emergency when it comes to numbers, “it’s clear that there’s a humanitarian emergency as a result of folks proceed to die.”

The variety of arrivals has been a lot increased for Ukrainian refugees, with greater than 120,000 who’ve entered Italy for the reason that begin of the battle, in response to the Inside Ministry.

“This isn’t similar to 18,000 who got here in 5 months by the ocean,” mentioned Mr. Di Giacomo. “Now we will put every part into perspective.”

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