At least 71 refugees have drowned off the coast of Syria from a boat that sailed from northern Lebanon to Europe. In the new report, the Lebanese Minister of Transport, Ali Hamija, announced it today. The Syrian Health Ministry said the death toll was 73. The search for the drowned was still ongoing, in the morning Beirut reported 53 dead and 20 survivors.
“According to the still provisional toll, there are 73 dead. 20 people are being treated at Tartous hospital,” said Syrian Health Minister Hasan Ghúbaš.
The ship, which could carry up to 150 people, left northern Lebanon this week and sank. On board were mainly Lebanese and Syrians, according to Hamij’s initial statement, at least five people from Lebanon are among those rescued. The Syrian authorities are continuing their search. According to the governor of Tartu, the ship sank two days ago.
As Reuters wrote, Lebanese have started fleeing in large numbers from the economic difficulties their country is currently facing. Most of the inhabitants of the Mediterranean country ended up 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.