Death toll from Lebanon migrant boat climbs to 73

BEIRUT: Syrian authorities have recovered the bodies of at least 61 people from a migrant boat that sank off the coast of the country after sailing from Lebanon Earlier this week, a Lebanese minister said Friday, as search efforts continue.
Ali Hamiye told Reuters that 20 survivors were being treated in Syrian hospitals.
Lebanon has seen a spike in migration as a result of the devastating financial crisis that has plunged many residents into poverty over the past three years. In addition to Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian refugees are also among those trying to leave the country by sea.
Syrian authorities began finding bodies off the coast of Tartus on Thursday afternoon. Its transport ministry cited survivors as saying the boat left the north of Lebanon Minyeh on Tuesday with between 120 and 150 people on board, bound for Europe.
“It sank. I don’t know the details of how,” Hamiye said.
Samer Qubrusli, Syria’s general manager of ports, said rescue efforts were still continuing on Friday.
The number of people who have left or tried to leave Lebanon by sea has nearly doubled in 2021 since 2020, United Nation refugee agency told Reuters earlier this month.
It has rebounded more than 70% in 2022 compared to the same period last year.
The Lebanese military on Wednesday said it had rescued 55 people from a boat that had malfunctioned in the country’s territorial waters and towed it back to shore.
In April, a migrant boat departing from near Tripoli sank during a Lebanese naval interception off the country’s coast.
About 80 Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian migrants were on board, of which about 40 were rescued, 7 were confirmed dead and about 30 were officially missing.

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