Four people drowned – including a girl – and seven are missing after the sinking of a boat carrying migrants off the town of Sfax in Tunisia announced today the port.
“The boat had left the Tunisian coast and sank on the night of Wednesday to Thursday near the Kerkenas islands. According to testimonies, 32 migrants were on board, all of them Tunisians. We rescued 21 and quickly located the first body “off Sfax, Tunisia’s second largest city, said Housem Edin Jebabli, a spokesman for the port.
Since then, the Coast Guard has retrieved three more bodies, including that of a girl, about 10 years old, according to local Sfax media. “Search operations to locate other survivors are ongoing,” the spokesman was quoted as saying by Reuters, citing Reuters and AFP.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR), more than 2,500 people went missing at sea in 2021 trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.
Of the more than 115,000 Immigrants who arrived in Europe last year, more than 20% came from Tunisia, a country that has been experiencing weak growth for 10 years and where the unemployment rate has recently exceeded 18%, while among young people it reaches 41%.
The country, which was the cradle of the Arab Spring in 2011, is going through a serious political crisis following the decision of President Kais Sayed on July 25 to take over all power, ousting the then prime minister and freezing parliament.