SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Syrian state TV said on Saturday said the death toll from a migrant boat that sank off the Syrian coast after sailing from Lebanon earlier this week has risen to 94 after more bodies were recovered from Syria’s Baniyas coast on the Mediterranean.
It is 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 the northern port city of Tartus on Thursday afternoon.
The Syrian transport ministry quoted survivors as saying the boat had left from Lebanon’s northern Minyeh region on Tuesday with between 120 and 150 people on board, bound for Europe.
The spate of such voyages has been fueled 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)