Dozens feared useless as migrant boat capsizes off Tunisia



Migrants are seen in a rubber dinghy as they are rescued by Libyan coast guards off the coast of Libya, 15 January 2015Picture copyright
Reuters

Picture caption

A UN report says six migrants died every single day in 2018 making an attempt to cross the Mediterranean (file picture)

At the least 65 migrants are thought to have died after their boat capsized within the Mediterranean off the coast of Tunisia.

There have been 16 survivors, in keeping with the United Nations refugee company (UNHCR).

Survivors say the boat left Zuwara in Libya on Thursday and bumped into hassle throughout robust waves.

About 164 folks died on the route between Libya and Europe within the first 4 months of 2019, the UNHCR says.

How have been the survivors rescued?

The incident is considered one of many deadliest shipwrecks involving migrants for the reason that begin of the yr.

The survivors have been dropped at the coast by the Tunisian Navy and are awaiting permission to disembark. One individual has been transferred to hospital for medical remedy, the UNHCR says.

The navy dispatched a ship as quickly because it heard concerning the incident and got here throughout a fishing boat selecting up survivors, a press release from the Tunisian defence ministry stated.

A Maltese helicopter was additionally mobilised, studies stated.

The passengers are understood to have been from sub-Saharan Africa.

“This can be a tragic and horrible reminder of the dangers nonetheless confronted by those that try and cross the Mediterranean,” the UNHCR’s Vincent Cochetel stated in a press release.

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Media captionGirls and kids are being held in camps near fierce combating in Libya’s capital Tripoli

Why has the variety of migrant crossings been falling?

Hundreds of migrants try and cross the Mediterranean to Europe yearly, and Libya is a key departure level.

Those that make the journey usually journey in poorly maintained and overcrowded ships, and lots of have died.

However since mid-2017, the variety of migrant journeys throughout the route has declined dramatically.

Within the first three months of 2019, some 15,900 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe through the three Mediterranean routes – a 17% lower on the identical interval in 2018.

The decline is basically as a result of Italy has engaged Libyan forces to cease migrants from setting off or to return them to Libya if discovered at sea – a coverage condemned by human rights organisations.

Nonetheless, the BBC’s James Reynolds, in Rome, says that whereas numbers might have declined, the capsizing off the coast of Tunisia exhibits that migrant journeys throughout the Mediterranean stay extraordinarily harmful.

In January, a UN report stated six migrants died crossing the Mediterranean every single day in 2018.

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