At least 11 migrants from Africa died after their boat sank off Tunisia on Sunday during their bid to cross the Mediterranean and reach the Italian island of Lampedusa.
Tunisia’s coast guard recovered the bodies of eight women and three children from near the coastal city of Sfax, located about 170 miles Southeast of Tunisia, late on Sunday, Reuters reported, citing a security official.
The boat was carrying 30 people, security officials told the outlet, adding that a search operation for the missing persons was ongoing. Exactly from where in Africa the boat had set out wasn’t immediately known.
The incident followed another migrant shipwreck off the coast of the city of Sfax in June, resulting in over 50 deaths. Over 20 bodies, including those of children, washed up on the beaches of Tunisia’s Kerkennah Island after the incident, and Tunisia’s coastal guard recovered more bodies during a subsequent search. Most of the deceased persons came from sub-Saharan Africa, Al Jazeera reported at that time.
In July 2019, at least 80 people were feared dead after their inflated vessel sank near the town of Zarzis off the coast of Tunisia. Security officials were able to rescue at least four people, who were Malians. They told officials that they had set out from Zuwara in Libya, a country in North Africa which reportedly is the main departure point for migrants aiming to reach Europe.
According to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 16,724 migrants entered Europe through the sea route in the first four months of 2020, marking a 16 percent increase from the 14,381 arriving during the same period in the previous year. A total of 256 people died while trying to cross the Mediterranean as of April 2020 as compared to 425 deaths during the same period in 2019, the report stated.
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