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Lebanon migrant ship loss of life toll rises to 94

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Seventeen our bodies had been recovered Saturday after a ship carrying migrants from Lebanon sank off Syria’s coast, elevating the general toll to 94, Syrian state tv stated, in one of many jap Mediterranean’s deadliest such episodes.

The toll has repeatedly ratcheted larger because the first our bodies had been discovered on Thursday. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, described the shipwreck as a “heart-wrenching tragedy” and the seek for these nonetheless lacking continued past dusk.

At least 14 survivors had been recovering in hospitals in Syria, whereas six others had been discharged. Two remained in intensive care in Al-Basel Hospital, Syria’s official SANA information company reported earlier.

“The death toll from the boat that sank off the coast of Tartus has risen to 94,” state tv stated.

The Lebanese military stated that it had arrested a Lebanese nationwide who “admitted to organising the recent (people) smuggling operation from Lebanon to Italy by sea”.

Lebanon, a rustic which hosts greater than 1,000,000 refugees from Syria’s civil battle, has been mired in a monetary disaster branded by the World Bank as one of many worst in fashionable occasions.

Nearly three years of financial collapse have turned the nation right into a launchpad for migrants, 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, Syrians and Palestinians, and included each youngsters and aged individuals, the UN stated.

Families in Lebanon held a second day of funerals Saturday after they had been handed our bodies of kin on Friday evening by means of the Arida border crossing. Others nonetheless await the our bodies of their kin.

In Tripoli, anger blended with grief as kin acquired information of the loss of life of their family members.

Hundreds of individuals gathered Saturday within the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, north of Tripoli, for the funeral procession of one of many victims, pumping their fists within the air.

– ‘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, stated that 10 youngsters seemed to be “among those who lost their lives”.

“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 stated: “No one gets on these death boats lightly.

“People are taking these perilous choices, risking their lives looking for dignity.”

Lazzarini said more must be done “to supply a greater future and tackle 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 on the lookout 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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