22 migrants die in boat sinking off Madagascar: Authorities
Another migrant boat claims the lives of many while reaching French shores.
A boat sank off the coast of Madagascar over the weekend, claiming the lives of at least 22 migrants, the island nation's maritime authorities said on Monday.
Madagascar maritime authority APMF said in a statement that "forty-seven people had clandestinely taken a boat headed to (the French territory of) Mayotte, but that sank."
"Twenty-three of the passengers were able to be saved. Twenty-two bodies were found," the statement said, adding that the accident occurred on Saturday and that search-and-rescue operations were continuing for the two people who remained missing.
Every year, migrants try to reach the French territory of Mayotte, which lies north of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. More than 6,500 people were detained in 2021 while trying to enter the territory clandestinely, according to French authorities.
There are no viable statistics on how many people have lost their lives in attempting such crossings. A French senate report published in the early 2000s estimated that, at that time, around 1,000 people were dying each year.
On a related note, following a joint summit between British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron, France and the UK agreed on Friday on a $576 million deal to combat illegal immigration across the English Channel.
The deal will be financed over the next three years and will be used to finance the construction of a new detention center for migrants in France.
It will also finance the deployment of 500 French security and support agents "to enable the fastest detection of attempted crossings" by small boats, as per a joint statement issued by both countries.
The two leaders held a joint summit on Friday after years of tensions that followed the Brexit vote.