Lebanon migrant shipwreck death toll rises to seven as search continues

More than 45 people rescued after a small dinghy carrying about 60 people sunk off coast near Tripoli

Maya Gebeily
Monday 25 April 2022 12:39
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<p>Medics wait on the pier as soldiers search for survivors off the coast of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, 24 April 2022</p>

Medics wait on the pier as soldiers search for survivors off the coast of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, 24 April 2022

The death toll from a migrant shipwreck in the sea off Lebanon’s northern coast has risen to seven as rescue efforts continue.

The Lebanese army found another body overnight, port officials said on Monday, as funerals were held across the north of the country for the victims.

Late on Saturday, a small dinghy carrying around 60 people sunk off the coast near the port city of Tripoli. The authorities say more than 45 have already been rescued.

The head of the Tripoli’s port authority, Ahmad Tamer, said that search operations were ongoing.

“The rescue operations went all night and the Lebanese army was able to find the body of a woman. The total number of victims is now seven,” he said.

Those on board were Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, Mr Tamer said. The army has said the dinghy capsized due to being overcrowded.

Lebanon’s economic crisis has seen the local currency lose more than 90 percent of its value and pushed waves of Lebanese as well as Syrian refugees to try the dangerous sea journey to Europe on small dinghies.

Over the weekend, relatives of the victims gathered in agitated crowds outside hospitals in Tripoli where the injured were being treated.

On Monday morning, a few men waited outside the port in the hope of finding out about missing loved ones.

Since Lebanon’s economic meltdown began in October 2019, hundreds have left on boats hoping for a better life in Europe, paying smugglers thousands of dollars. Many have made it to European countries, while others have been stopped and forced to return home by the Lebanese navy.

Reuters

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