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Death toll of Lebanon migrant ship tragedy rises to 89

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Twelve extra our bodies had been recovered Saturday after a ship carrying migrants from Lebanon sunk off Syria’s coast, elevating the general toll to 89, Syrian state media mentioned, in one of many jap Mediterranean’s deadliest such shipwrecks.

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), referred to as it a “heart-wrenching tragedy”.

At least 14 individuals rescued had been recovering in hospitals in Syria whereas six others had been discharged, as search efforts continued, with a number of individuals nonetheless lacking because the boat sank on Thursday.

“There are 89 victims, while 14 people are receiving treatment at Al-Basel Hospital, two of whom are in intensive care,” Syria’s official information company SANA reported, quoting Iskandar Ammar, a hospital official.

Lebanon’s military mentioned Saturday that it arrested a Lebanese man who “admitted to organising the recent smuggling operation from Lebanon to Italy by sea”.

Lebanon, a rustic which hosts greater than one million refugees from Syria’s civil conflict, has since 2019 been mired in a monetary disaster branded by the World Bank as one of many worst in trendy occasions.

Nearly three years of financial collapse have turned the nation right into a launchpad for unlawful migration, with its personal residents becoming a member of Syrian and Palestinian refugees clamouring to depart by harmful sea routes.

As many as 150 individuals had been on board the small boat that sank off the Syrian port of Tartus, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Tripoli in Lebanon, from the place the migrants set sail.

Those on board had been principally Lebanese and Syrians and Palestinians, and included each youngsters and the aged, the UN mentioned.

Families in Lebanon held a second day of funerals Saturday after they had been handed our bodies of family members on Friday night time by the Arida border crossing with Syria.

In the northern port metropolis of Tripoli, from which many migrant boats depart, anger blended with grief as family members acquired information of the dying of their family members.

Hundreds of individuals gathered Saturday for the funeral procession of one of many victims, pumping fists into the air, as family members wept carrying a makeshift coffin by the streets.

– ‘Death boats’ –

Since 2020, Lebanon has seen a spike within the variety of migrants utilizing its shores to aim the perilous crossing in jam-packed boats to reach Europe.

The UN youngsters’s company, UNICEF, mentioned they’d preliminary studies that 10 youngsters had been “among those who lost their lives” within the newest catastrophe.

“Years of political instability and economic crisis in Lebanon have pushed many children and families into poverty, affecting their health, welfare and education,” UNICEF added.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN company for Palestinian refugees mentioned: “No one gets on these death boats lightly…

“People are taking this perilous selections, risking their lives in quest of dignity.”

Lazzarini said more must be done “to supply a greater future and deal with a way of hopelessness in Lebanon and throughout the area, together with amongst Palestine refugees”.

Antonio Vitorino, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said: “People searching for security shouldn’t be compelled to take such perilous and sometimes lethal migration journeys.”

Most of the boats setting off from Lebanon head for European Union member Cyprus, an island about 175 kilometres (110 miles) to the west.

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