Scores down as migrant boat sinks off Syria
Beirut, Sep 23 (EFE).- More than 60 people have drowned after a boat carrying over 100 migrants capsized off Syria’s coast, Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie said on Friday.
The migrants had boarded the boat in the Lebanese city of Tripoli on Thursday, Hamie told EFE.
He said searchers had rescued 19 passengers.
Some survivors told rescuers that the barge was carrying more than 100 people, and many victims did not carry travel documents, said the minister.
He said the government was in touch with the Syrian authorities.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the shipwreck killed 62.
The monitor said the victims were Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians.
The observatory said rescue teams were searching for an estimated 70 missing.
Citing survivors, the monitor said the board had 150 people on board when it set off from Lebanon.
The Britain-based observatory citing unnamed sources said many of the Syrian migrants onboard the ship had sold their properties to reach Europe.
A boat carrying people desperate to flee Lebanon’s economic crisis sank, drowning 11.
But the number of people traveling on the boat was never known, even though the searchers rescued at least 45.
Almost 80 percent of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line.
Some 90 percent of the Syrian refugee community in the country is extremely poor, UN data showed.
In recent years, the Lebanese authorities have tightened migration policy and intercepted boats that try to leave for Cyprus.
According to the UN, 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 these boats were intercepted or returned. EFE