Europe: Between Tunisia and Lampedusa, a boat capsized, leaving 37 people missing
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday, citing an account by four survivors of the shipwreck, that 37 people are missing after their boat capsized between Tunisia and the Italian island of Lampedusa. According to four survivors cited by the migrants’ organization, the boat capsized in strong winds with the majority of passengers feared dead.
According to the United Nations, the survivors—all of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa—arrived on Lampedusa late on Thursday after being rescued from the shipwreck by another vessel, according to the organization.
According to UNHCR representative Chiara Cardoletti, the shipwreck occurred on Thursday and left at least one newborn baby missing.
Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesperson for the UN migration agency IOM, stated that the vessel was carrying 46 migrants from Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast when it left Sfax, Tunisia.
He stated, “Heavy waves and strong winds caused the boat to capsize.” Some of the survivors were brought back to Tunisia, while others were taken to Lampedusa.
Seven women and a minor are among the missing. All of the men who survived are adults, he added.
Since November, he stated, “We have noticed more arrivals of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa than Tunisians” via the Tunisian route.
He explained that this was because Tunisians from sub-Saharan Africa were fleeing discrimination.
Cardoletti stated, “It is unacceptable to continue counting the dead at the gates of Europe.”
Prior, the UN’s High Bonus for Outcasts gave a comparable record of similar episode, yet said 40 individuals were accepted to be missing, as opposed to 37.
One of the main entry points for migrants crossing the Mediterranean is the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy. The UNHCR says that out of a total of 105,000 people in Italy last year, over 46,000 arrived there.
After Tunisia’s crackdown on migrants from sub-Saharan Africa living in the country illegally and reports of racist attacks amid an economic downturn, this year’s migration across the Mediterranean has increased.
A judicial official said on Thursday that three boats off the coast of Tunisia sank, killing three African migrants and leaving at least 12 missing, while 152 others were rescued by the country’s coastguard.
It was not immediately clear whether one of these three boats was where the four survivors who told their story to the IOM were.