Death toll in migrant boat disaster off Egyptian coast rises to 42

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Sep 2016

Illegal immigration boat
File Photo: Refugees and migrants are rescued by French navy personnel from an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean in September 2015 (Photo: AFP)

Egypt's health ministry announced on Wednesday evening that the death toll in the capsizing of a boat carrying migrants off Egypt's Mediterranean port city of Rosetta has reached 42.

According to the state-owned MENA news agency, the boat was carrying 600 migrants.

Reuters reported that the migrants originated from Syria, Egypt and other African countries.

According to initial investigations conducted by police in the Nile Delta's Beheira governorate, the boat capsized after it sailed from Kafr El-Sheikh's Meghizal area.

The afflicted boat's planned destination is still unknown.

Wednesday's incident comes two days after Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said at a UN meeting that "illegal immigration" should be at the top of international priorities.

He affirmed that Egypt will combat illegal immigration through updating already existing anti-human trafficking legislation, underlining that the government is currently working on finalising legalisation to combat illegal emigration from the country.

According to El-Sisi, Egypt currently hosts five million refugees of different nationalities.

The UNHCR website's profile on Egypt says that the country is hosting 261,741 registered refugees, mostly from Sudan, Syria and Libya, with the number of unregistered refugees believed to be much higher.

In recent years, thousands of refugees and migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in search of better jobs and opportunities. Hundreds have been arrested in Egypt by naval forces for attempting to migrate illegally. 

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