Dozens of refugees feared drowned in Mediterranean after waiting more than 36 hours for rescue

Spanish rescue services gave details of the boat's location to Moroccan authorities as it was within the north African country's jurisdiction


Harry Cockburn
Tuesday 02 October 2018 16:34 BST
Over 1,700 refugees have died in the Mediterranean in 2018
Over 1,700 refugees have died in the Mediterranean in 2018

At least 34 refugees, including two children, are believed to have died off the coast of Morocco after awaiting rescue from a sinking boat for more than 36 hours.

The UN migration agency said 26 people had survived and were taken ashore to the Moroccan town of Nador on Monday afternoon.

Joel Millman of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), told Reuters: "The boat was adrift since Sunday with 60 people aboard. At least 34 have drowned, it looks like there were 26 survivors."

The information came from the Moroccan navy and Spanish non-governmental organisation Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders), he said.

A Moroccan official, asking not to be named, said 11 bodies had been recovered, adding that the dead were all migrants, not Moroccan nationals.

Walking Borders founder Helena Maleno Garzón said the migrants first contacted her early on Sunday and that she alerted Spanish authorities with the boat's approximate location, Press Association reports.

Spain's Maritime Safety and Rescue Agency reportedly said the information was conveyed to Moroccan authorities since the location Ms Maleno provided was within the African country's jurisdiction.

The incident comes amid a sharp rise in the number of refugees dying in the Mediterranean, with more than 1,700 deaths recorded this year, with over 82,000 arrivals, as of 2 October, according to the IOM.

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