File: Overcrowded boat capsized off the coast of Libya in May, 2016 - Reuters File: Overcrowded boat capsized off the coast of Libya in May, 2016 - Reuters

UNHCR warns of dangers of illegal Mediterranean crossings

By: MENA
Sat, May. 11, 2019
GENEVA - 11 May 2019: UNHCR Special Envoy for the Mediterranean Vincent Cochetel stressed that the drowning of 65 people off the coast of Tunisia recently is “a tragic and terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those who attempt to cross the Mediterranean”.

Some 65 people have drowned after their boat sank approximately 45 nautical miles off the coast of Tunisia, in one of the worst incidents on the Mediterranean in months, the UNHCR website reported on Saturday.

16 people were pulled from the water and have been brought to the coast of Zarzis by the Tunisian Navy. One person has been immediately transferred to hospital for medical treatment, while the others await permission to disembark.

According to the survivors, the group left Zuwara, around 120km west of Tripoli. Their boat ran in to trouble soon afterwards when encountering strong waves.

This latest incident is the highest loss of life since some 117 died or went missing in mid-January. For some months, UNHCR has been raising the alarm at the lack of search and rescue capacity on the central Mediterranean.

Up to 164 people died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019.
 
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