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All-Egyptian Migrant Boat Sinks, Leaving 2 Dead and 19 Missing

August 31, 2022
Image Credit: North Africa Post

A capsized migrant boat of 27 Egyptians leaves two dead, nineteen missing, and six rescued, as rescue efforts persist in the coastal city of Tolmeita, Libya, according to a statement by the Ministry of Emigration on 30 August.

“The Ministry is now checking on the situation while monitoring the current rescue operations for those still being searched for,” explains Emigration Minister Soha Gendi.

“We pray we find those missing, and to inspire the victims’ families patience and solace.”

Since the 2011 revolution that toppled former dictator Muammar Gaddafi – and the relentless political chaos that followed – Libya has emerged as a strategic point for thousands of migrants hoping to sail to European coasts in a bid to escape war and poverty.

More often than not, boats and dinghies carrying migrants are congested, shoddy, have no life jackets, and are not capable of handling the long journey from Libya to Europe.

Boat migration in the Mediterranean Sea peaked in 2015 – mainly due to the Syrian refugee crisis caused by the country’s civil war – with over one million people estimated to have crossed the Mediterranean onto Europe, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC).

Of those one million, 3,735 were missing, believed to have drowned during the journey.

In 2016, a migrant boat boarding Egyptians and immigrants from other African countries capsized off the coast of Egypt, leaving around 202 dead and many more missing.

While the number of migrants traveling on boats has decreased over the years, the death toll remains around the same. In 2021, the UNHCR recorded 3,231 deaths by boat migration in 2021.

Egypt itself hosts over nine million migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration. Yet a weakening economy and dwindling currency trigger Egyptians – around one thousand per year – to leave behind their own country in search of a life elsewhere.

This is a developing story.

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