43 migrants missing in boat sinking off Tunisia

Tunis, July 3, (dpa/GNA) – Forty-three migrants were missing off the Tunisian coast and 84 others were rescued after their boat sank while heading to Europe, a Tunisian Red Crescent official said on Saturday.

A rescue operation started on Friday after the boat capsized near the coastal town of Zarzis in Tunisia's Medenine province, Munji Salim, the head of the Red Crescent in the southern province, told dpa.

The boat had set off from the Libyan city of Zuwara with 127 migrants on board, Salim said.
Those rescued included 46 Sudanese nationals, 16 Eritreans, 12 Bangladeshis and five from Egypt.

They were taken to the Zarzis port, according to Salim. "The sheltering centres in southern Tunisia are crowded with migrants," he added.

Last month, the Tunisian coastguard rescued 267 migrants from drowning after their boat also sailing from Libya broke down while heading to Europe.

This was the highest number of migrants rescued off the Tunisian coast in a single operation.
Every year, thousands of migrants risk their lives crossing from Tunisia and Libya in search of a better life in Europe.

In April, at least 41 migrants died after their boat sank off the Tunisian coast
According to the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 550 people have died in the Mediterranean Sea this year.

They often use unseaworthy wooden boats or rubber dinghies.