At least 71 refugees have drowned off the Syrian coast from a boat that sailed from northern Lebanon to Europe. In the new balance, the Lebanese Minister of Transport, Ali Hamija, announced this on Friday.
Information from Syria is somewhat different. “According to the still provisional balance, there are 73 dead. There are 20 people being treated in the hospital in Tartus,” said Syrian Minister of Health Hasan Ghúbaš.
The search for the drowned still continues, as of this morning Beirut reported 53 dead and 20 survivors. However, the work of the rescuers was complicated by rough seas and strong winds, reports the Al Jazeera server.
Lebanon in crisis
In recent years, Lebanon has been experiencing one of the most difficult periods in its history. The political unrest that began in 2019 ended in a virtual paralysis of the state: the covid-19 pandemic, the collapse of the Lebanese pound and a giant explosion in the port of Beirut in the summer of 2020 added to the systemic corruption.
The vessel, which may have been carrying 120 to 150 people, set sail from the northern Lebanese town of Miniyeh this week and sank. On board were mainly Lebanese and Syrians, according to Hamij’s original statement, at least five people from Lebanon are among the rescued.
According to the governor of Tartu, the ship sank two days ago. Authorities are still investigating the possible cause of the accident, reports the British public broadcaster BBC.
As Reuters has written, Lebanese have begun to flee in large numbers from the economic difficulties that their country is now facing. Most of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean country found themselves in poverty because of them. The AP agency writes that several thousand Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians have left Lebanon for Europe on ships and boats in recent months.