Four new bodies of migrants have been recovered in the Mediterranean after the sinking last Sunday of a boat off the coast of Tunisia, which left at least 21 dead.
Seven of the survivors were rescued on Sunday with most of them being Ivorians. Mourad Turki, spokesman for the Sfax court said seventeen bodies have been recovered over the past three days and there is no longer any hope of finding alive the four or five passengers still missing.
The boat was carrying about 29 people, including two Tunisians and people from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the comments of survivors reported by Turki.
In addition to the two Tunisian men whose bodies were found, seven women aged 20 to 30 and three children, including an infant, were among the victims.
“Most of the passengers knew each other, some had been working in Tunisia for several months,” Turki said.
They had taken to sea when the pandemic and its social fallout weakened migrants in Tunisia.
“We saw many Ivorians leave this summer, including many women, in a context in which migrants have more and more difficulty in finding stable employment in Tunisia,” said Alice Sironi, of the Organization, International Migration Board (IOM).
At the risk of their lives, thousands of people regularly attempt to cross the Mediterranean on clandestine boats, trying to reach Europe where they hope in particular to find work.
Departures from Tunisia to Italy have accelerated significantly in recent months, under the combined effect of the pandemic, which has caused unemployment to soar, and the political crisis.
The number of Tunisians illegally emigrating to Italy, which had reached a record after the 2011 revolution with more than 20,000 arrivals, then fell sharply.
But it has started to rise again since 2017.