23 missing migrants and two dead off the Tunisian coast

The essentials At least 23 migrants are missing and two died off the coast of Tunisia, the Red Crescent announced on Wednesday (June 2), one day after a rescue operation by the Tunisian army against boats in distress.

The boat, which left the Libyan port of Zouara with around one hundred migrants in the night from Sunday 30 to Monday 31 May, was rescued by the army not far from the Miskar oil platform, 67 km off the Tunisian coast. The survivors, 37 Eritreans, 32 Sudanese and one Egyptian, all aged 15 to 40, were taken in by the Red Crescent and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the port of Zarzis in southern Tunisia.

The survivors mentioned the presence of other passengers on board: Among them, two were found drowned and 23 are missing, according to the Red Crescent.

The army has announced that it has also landed 39 migrants from different countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Your boat, which was 50 km from the Tunisian coast, left Sfax (Middle East) overnight from Sunday to Monday.

The reception facilities in the south of the country are starting to fill up

Tunisia saves migrant boats every week, whose departures have been increasing for the past two years. Reception facilities in the south of the country are starting to fill up, especially as groups of migrants must be quarantined upon arrival due to the pandemic.

Attempts to emigrate from neighboring Libya have also increased, with 11,000 departures from January to April 2021, 73% more than in the same period of the previous year, in particular due to the “deterioration” of the situation of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

On May 18, more than 50 people were reported missing and about 30 were rescued off the Tunisian coast after their boat that had left Libya sank. According to the United Nations, the central Mediterranean is one of the deadliest migration routes, with more than 760 deaths in the Mediterranean between January 1 and May 31, 2021 and 1400 in 2020.

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