Hundreds of migrants rescued off Tunisian coast
By Vatican News staff writer
The Tunisian coast guard on Monday announced that it had rescued 455 migrants as part of its efforts to curb irregular migration off its maritime borders.
The guard said that in several operations, its units thwarted 37 attempts to cross the seas off the country’s north, east and south coasts.
Of the 455 people rescued in these operations, 289 are of various sub-Saharan African nationalities, while the rest are Tunisian nationals.
Migration from Northern Africa
Thousands of migrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean every year, departing mainly from Tunisia and Libya in their bid to access Europe.
The region of Sfax in the center-east of the country is a popular point of departure for many Tunisian and foreign migrants, who usually make for the coasts of Italy.
Experts say that the number of illegal emigration attempts tends to increase during the spring and summer seasons.
Danger at sea
Many of the dangerous attempts to cross the Mediterranean waters result in death for some migrants.
At the end of May, more than 70 migrants from Zouara in Libya disappeared off the Tunisian coast. Their boat, which was carrying 100 people, had capsized off the coast of Sfax. The national guard saved about two dozen of them but the rest were not found.
According to the Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), about 15,671 migrants managed to arrive on Italian soil in 2021, reflecting an increase when compared to 12,883 in 2020.
Nearly 2,000 migrants disappeared or drowned in the Mediterranean in 2021 compared to 1,401 in 2020 according to the International Organization for Migration.
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