71 die on Lebanese migration boat after they sank off Syrian coast

Refugees and migrants massed onto an inflatable boat reach Mytilene, northern island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey on February 17, 2016 (AFP photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Between 120 and 150 people on a Lebanese migration boat, at least 71 people died when they sank off the Syrian coast, Lebanon’s transport minister said, as search operations continued on Friday.  

71 people died when the migrant boat they aboard sank off the Syrian coast after sailing from Lebanon earlier this week.

It marks the deadliest such voyage yet from Lebanon, where mounting economic desperation has led many to board often rickety and overcrowded boats in the hope of reaching Europe.

Syrian authorities began finding bodies off the coast of Tartus on Thursday afternoon.

The Syrian transport ministry has quoted survivors as saying the boat left from Lebanon’s northern Minyeh region on Tuesday with between 120 and 150 people onboard, bound for Europe.

Lebanese transport minister Ali Hamiye said 20 survivors were being treated in Syrian hospitals, the bulk of them Syrians – around 1 million of whom live in Lebanon as refugees.

Hamiye said the boat was “very small” and made of wood, describing such sailings as an almost daily occurrence organised by people who did not care for safety.

Samer Qubrusli, the Syrian director general of ports, said rescue efforts were continuing on Friday.

The spate of such voyages has been fuelled by Lebanon’s financial collapse in the last three years – one of the worst ever recorded globally. Poverty rates have sky-rocketed among the population of some 6.5 million.

The number of people who have left or tried to leave Lebanon by sea nearly doubled in 2021 from 2020, the United Nations refugee agency told Reuters earlier this month.

It rose again by more than 70% in 2022 compared with the same period last year.

(Esta Media Network/Reuters)

Previous Article

PM Kadhimi calls for third round of national dialogue to resolve 'Iraq’s problems'

Next Article

Islamic Scholars’ Union of Kurdistan opposes bill to combat family violence

Related Posts