Migrant boat capsizes off Tunisia; 65 dead

Migrant boat capsizes off Tunisia; 65 dead

Agency News

United Nations, May 11 : At least 65 migrants have died after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of Tunisia, the UN refugee agency said.Sixteen people were rescued, UNHCR said in a statement. Survivors say the boat left Zuwara in Libya on Thursday and ran into trouble during strong waves.About 164 people died on the route between Libya and Europe in the first four months of 2019, UNHCR figures show.

The incident is thought to be one of the deadliest shipwrecks involving migrants since the start of the year. The survivors were brought to the coast by the Tunisian Navy and are awaiting permission to disembark. One person has been transferred to hospital for medical treatment, the UNHCR said.

The navy dispatched a ship as soon as it heard about the incident and came across a fishing boat picking up survivors, a statement from the Tunisian defence ministry said. The passengers are understood to have been from sub-Saharan Africa. "This is a tragic and terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those who attempt to cross the Mediterranean," the UNHCR's Vincent Cochetel said in a statement.

Some reports put the number on board higher so the toll could rise. In the first three months of 2019, some 15,900 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe via the three Mediterranean routes - a 17pc decrease on the same period in 2018.In January, a UN report said six migrants died crossing the Mediterranean every day in 2018. (UNI)