TUNISIA, June 9 (AP) — At least five Africans have died in recent days after three boats trying to ferry migrants across the Mediterranean sank off the coast of the Tunisian city of Sfax, the Tunisian coast guard said, Dozens of people are believed to be missing.
Sfax prosecutor Faouzi Masmoudi said five bodies, including a child, had been found in the area in recent days.
Masmoudi told The Associated Press that naval forces rescued 73 migrants after three shipwrecks, but survivors’ accounts suggested as many as 47 more were missing. Six of those missing were reportedly children.
Masmodi said the boats were made of iron and would take in water as soon as they reached the high seas.
A growing number of attempts to emigrate to Italy by boat from Tunisia have departed from the area around Sfax, a port on Tunisia’s central coast.
The number of victims buried at the Sfax cemetery has reached nearly 500 since January, a significant increase from the previous two years, Masmodi said. He said 355 burials were recorded in 2022 and 226 in 2021.
Migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, are making the perilous journey from Tunisia in unprecedented numbers. Tunisian authorities say they prevented 13,000 migrants from crossing Sfax in the first three months of this year alone.
Tunisia is seeing increasing numbers of migrants arriving via neighboring Libya, and Tunisia is facing a financial and political crisis of its own, prompting a growing number of young Tunisians to seek a better life in Europe.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told reporters on Thursday that the leaders of Italy and the Netherlands, as well as the European Commission president, will travel to Tunisia on Sunday with a security package to pave the way for a possible international rescue. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)