Dead and injured off Tunisia’s coast

Refugees have drowned again in two boat accidents since Friday. 36 people could be saved.

A rescue team approaches a rubber boat with migrants (archive image).

A rescue team approaches a rubber boat with migrants (archive image).Candida Lobes/dpa

Up to seven migrants have died in another boat accident off the coast of Tunisia. So far, four bodies have been found on the beach in the second largest Tunisian city of Sfax, and three other occupants of the boat that capsized in the morning are still missing, a spokesman for the court responsible for the investigation in Sfax told the AFP news agency on Saturday. 36 people could therefore be saved.

According to the spokesman, a boat with 37 migrants trying to get to Europe sank off the coast the day before. Since then, 20 migrants have been missing and 17 have been rescued. According to the spokesman, the missing came from countries south of the Sahara.

Six boats capsized since March – more than 100 dead or missing

According to an AFP count, at least six boats with migrants have gone under since the beginning of March. More than 100 people died or are still missing.

The Tunisian Coast Guard announced on Friday that it had prevented more than 14,000 people from crossing to Europe between January 1 and March 31. That is five times as many people as in the same period last year. More than 13,100 migrants came from countries south of the Sahara, the rest were Tunisians.

Most of the boats were intercepted off the coast of Sfax and Mahdia provinces. There the coast is only about 150 kilometers away from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, more than 14,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, compared to around 5,300 in the same period last year. Dozens of people die again and again during the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean in overcrowded boats.

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