An overloaded boat carrying migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean has capsized off the coast of Sfax.
At least five people have died and 10 are missing after an overcrowded boat carrying migrants and refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean from Tunisia to Italy sank.
The boat sank off Louata, in the Sfax region, a Tunisian justice official said on Saturday. Another 20 people were rescued by the Tunisian coast guard.
The Sfax Coast has become a major departure point for people fleeing poverty in Africa and the Middle East for a better life in Europe.
More than 25,000 people have died or gone missing trying to cross the Mediterranean since 2014, according to data collected by the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.
In recent months, hundreds of people have drowned off the coast of Tunisia, with an increase in the frequency of attempts to cross the sea from Tunisia and Libya to Italy.
In the wake of the unprecedented economic and financial crisis in Tunisia, more than 18,000 Tunisians sailed to Europe by 2022, according to the human rights forum Tunisia’s Forum for Economic and Social Rights.
Inflation increased and lack of food has increased unrest amid the ongoing political crisis in the North African country. Tunisian President Kais Saied has threatened democratic institutions, put the economy in a whirlpool.
While the number of crossings in the central Mediterranean grows, Italy’s right-wing government has approved new measures to fine charities. rescue refugees at sea and impound their ships if they violate the new rules, which could put the lives of thousands of people at risk.
Since Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni take office In October, the government targeted the activities of marine rescue charity, accusing them of facilitating traffickers to operate amid a spike in arrivals. The charities deny the allegations.
According to Interior Ministry data, at least 102,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Italy in 2022, compared with about 66,500 in the same period last year.
This number peaked at over 181,000 in 2016.