Death toll rises to 60 after migrant boat capsizes off coast of Tunisia

World Today

TUNISIA-MIGRANT-EUROPEPeople receive the bodies of loved ones in the Tunisian town of Sfax on June 4, 2018 after more than 50 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean on the previous day, the majority off the coasts of Tunisia and Turkey. (AFP PHOTO / Sofiene HAMDAOUI)

At least 60 migrants drowned late on Sunday when their boat, transporting some 200 people, sank off Kerkennah’s Island in Sfax while heading to the Italian island of Lampedusa. The death toll is expected to increase.

CGTN’S Adnen Chaouachi reports.

The National Guard has rescued 68 people, including women and children. 

Tunisians mourned as the first remains of the shipwrecked migrants were handed over to their families.

“It is sad and a tragedy,” one man said. “Illegal migration is a normal reaction when one is facing unemployment and poverty. Illegal migrants have lost confidence in the state. These people felt they had nothing to lose. They felt they were already dead.”

Nevertheless, some people are convinced that illegal migration is an irresponsible decision.

“The condition of any individual does not justify the crazy and risky decision to cross the sea,” civil servant, Riadh Heni said. “I have two unemployed sons. It does not mean that they will opt for illegal migration, which is a problem and not a solution.”

Tunisian authorities have urged families to warn their sons and daughters about the dangers of trying to cross the Mediterranean. In addition to the dangers, it is also an expensive endeavor; survivors of this tragedy say smugglers charged around $1,700 per person, with no guarantee of reaching European shores.