48 rescued after boat carrying migrants sinks off Lebanon
A boat carrying 60 migrants out of Lebanon sank off near the coast of the northern city of Tripoli.
A child died and 48 people were rescued Saturday after a boat carrying around 60 migrants sank off Lebanon, where deadly sea crossings have spiraled due to the country's economic crisis.
Earlier, Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamieh told a local broadcaster that "Forty-five people have been rescued and the corpse of one child," has been retrieved from the boat that sank near the coast of the northern city of Tripoli.
He confirmed that around 60 people were on the vessel carrying illegal migrants out of Lebanon.
A boat carrying 60 people has drowned in the vicinities of #Tripoli in north #Lebanon.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) April 23, 2022
The country has been suffering from an economic crisis that has destroyed the livelihoods of its people to the point of escape using perilous paths. pic.twitter.com/8ImnqzTda2
"The search is ongoing," the minister added.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Red Cross said it had sent 10 ambulances to Tripoli.
An AFP correspondent said the Lebanese army had closed off the port, allowing entry only to ambulances that were zipping in and out.
In a statement, the army indicated that the boat sank as a result of water leakage due to overload and surging waves.
The families of some of the passengers gathered to check on their loved ones but were denied access.
"This happened because of the politicians who forced unemployed Lebanese to leave the country," expressed one man waiting for news of a relative outside the port.
#Lebanon : Tragedy off coast of #Tripoli as a child dies after a boat carrying some 60 Lebanese & Syrian migrants sank - the majority rescued so far - another result of economic collapse -photo from @a1aanasr #طرابلس pic.twitter.com/3gPVKdOQQ3— sebastian usher (@sebusher) April 23, 2022
Lebanon, a country of around six million people, is grappling with an unprecedented financial crisis that the World Bank says is on a scale usually associated with wars.
The currency has lost more than 90% of its purchasing power and the majority of the population lives below the poverty line.
According to the UN refugee agency, at least 1,570 people, 186 of them Lebanese, left or tried to leave illegally by sea from Lebanon between January and November 2021.
Most were hoping to reach Cyprus, an island 175 kilometers away.