One dead, 75 missing as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Incident is the latest in a series of drownings off the country's shores

Tunisian coastguard helps migrants off a rescue boat at Jbeniana, near Sfax, in April. Reuters
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One person has died and 75 are missing after a boat crowded with migrants sank off the Tunisian city of Sfax on Wednesday.

UN agency the International Organisation for Migration said 30 people were rescued by the coastguard from the vessel, which had departed from the Libyan city of Zawara.

The IOM is assisting survivors and working with the International Committee of the Red Cross on missing migrants, it added.

A Tunisian security official told Reuters that the coastguard had recovered one body and continued to search for 75 people who are missing.

Several migrant boats have sunk off the Tunisian coast recently.

Four boats carrying 120 African migrants to Italy capsized off Sfax in April, leaving at least 20 people dead.

The coast around Sfax has become a key departure point for people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East for a better life in Europe.

In recent months, dozens of people have drowned, as more attempt to cross from Tunisia and Libya to Italy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have in recent years made the perilous Mediterranean crossing.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees figures showed that more than 123,000 migrants arrived in Italy in 2021, compared to more than 95,000 in 2020.

Updated: May 25, 2022, 2:55 PM