Beirut, Apr 25 (EFE).- Lebanese rescue teams on Monday recovered two more bodies from a migrant boat that sank off the northern city of Tripoli on the weekend, bringing the confirmed death toll to 11.
A military source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Efe that search efforts were moving slowly due to a lack of information.
“Today we found two bodies, but the total number of people who were traveling on the boat is not known,” he said.
“That is why we cannot offer a total number of the missing people. There are no documents and nobody knows how many people were on board, not even passengers,” the military source added.
On Sunday, Lebanese military officials confirmed that nine people died but the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) put the death toll at six.
At least 45 people have been rescued, both organizations said on Sunday, estimating that many more remain missing.
Since the start of Syria’s years-long conflict, nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon. According to the UN, they are particularly suffering the consequences of the devastating financial crisis the country has been grabbling with since 2019.
Almost 80% of the Lebanese population currently live below the poverty line, while close to 90% of the Syrian refugee community in the country are extremely poor, according to UN figures.
In recent years, the Lebanese authorities have tightened migration policy and intercepted boats that try to leave for Cyprus.
“Lebanon has been witnessing an increase in sea departures since 2020 when 38 boats with more than 1,500 passengers attempted dangerous onward journeys, over 75 percent of which were intercepted or returned,” UNHCR and IOM said Sunday.EFE