Some 25 persons are now known to have died after their boat coming from sub-Saharan Africa towards Europe was wrecked off the port city of Sfax on Wednesday. Seventy-two of the 110 onboard were rescued, while several others are reported missing. Ten bodies were discovered on Wednesday and fifteen on Thursday, said Tunisian coastguard. Six women were among the dead found on Thursday, including the boat’s Tunisian captain. The country, whose coastline is less than 150 kilometers (90 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa, has long been a favored spot for migrants attempting to journey into Europe.
Dozens of people, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, have drowned off Tunisia in recent weeks in desperate attempts to reach Europe.
The United Nations’ human rights chief, Volker Türk, raised alarm on Thursday over the “precarious” situation of asylum seekers and migrants desperately attempting to cross the central Mediterranean, the world’s deadliest migration route.
“We are seeing a steep increase in the number of desperate people putting their lives at grave risk,” he said.
“We cannot afford to dither, and to become embroiled in yet another debate about who is responsible. Human lives are at stake.”