11 migrants dead, 44 missing in shipwreck off Tunisia

AFP , Monday 7 Aug 2023

At least 11 migrants have died in a shipwreck off Tunisia's coast and 44 others are missing, a judicial sources said Monday, revising an earlier toll of four fatalities.

Tunisia migrant crisis
Two have been rescued out of the 57 people aboard the boat, all from sub-Saharan African countries. AFP

 

"Seven new bodies have been recovered on Sunday evening," said Faouzi Masmoudi, spokesman for the court in Sfax, Tunisia's second city near the site of the sinking that took place over the weekend in the Mediterranean Sea.

Two have been rescued out of the 57 people aboard the boat, all from sub-Saharan African countries, Masmoudi said, adding that the authorities were searching for the missing migrants.

Almost 800 irregular migrants drowned off Tunisia in the first half of this year as they tried to reach Europe by boat, a National Guard spokesman told AFP late July.

"789 bodies of migrants were recovered from the sea, including 102 Tunisians, the others foreigners and unidentified people," said Houcem Eddine Jebabli, adding that more than 34,000 were rescued.

The North African country has become a major gateway for irregular migrants and asylum-seekers attempting the perilous sea voyage in often rickety boats in the hope of a better life in Europe.

The distance between Tunisia, near its second city of Sfax, and the Italian island of Lampedusa is about 130 kilometres (80 miles), and the sea voyages pick up in the summer months

The European Union has recently been in talks with Tunisia's government, offering the country a major funding package to help it revive its flagging and debt-hit economy and to better curb surging migration.

Short link: