At least 41 people die after boat sinks off Tunisia
IslamNews – At least 41 people have died after their boat sank off Tunisia’s coast as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a joint statement on Friday they are “deeply saddened by reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Sidi Mansour, in southeast Tunisia”.
The Tunisian port city has become a major departure point for people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East and seeking a better life in Europe.
Last month, 39 migrants and refugees died off the coast of Sfax, while in another similar accident in June last year, at least 60 were killed when a boat sank.
Human smugglers launch vessels, many of them flimsy rubber dinghies or rickety fishing boats, crowded with migrants who hope to reach European shores to seek asylum.
Some are fleeing conflict or persecution, while many of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have been rescued at sea in recent years are fleeing poverty.
So far this year, sea departures from Tunisia to Europe have more than tripled compared with the same period in 2020, according to the UNHCR and the IOM.