At least 43 people have drowned in a shipwreck off Tunis while trying to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, while another 84 were rescued, the Tunisian Red Crescent humanitarian organization said.
The ship had set sail from Zuwara, on Libya’s northwest coast, carrying migrants from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Bangladesh, the humanitarian organization said.
In recent months, there have been several drowning incidents off the coast of Tunisia, with an increase in the frequency of attempts to cross into Europe from Tunisia and Libya into Italy as the weather has improved.
“The navy rescued 84 migrants and another 43 drowned on a ship that left Zuwara in Libya for Europe,” said Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official.
Hundreds of thousands of people have made the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean in recent years, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
Arrivals in Italy, one of the main migrant routes to Europe, had declined in recent years, but the numbers rose again in 2021.
Almost 19,800 migrants have arrived since the beginning of the year compared to just over 6,700 in the same period last year, figures from the Italian Interior Ministry show.