Summary: The shipwreck that occurred late on Thursday off the coast of Syria is terrible. 120–170 migrants and refugees, predominantly Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians, were on board. At least 70 deaths in the Syrian seas were confirmed by search and rescue operations. Twenty or more patients were hospitalised. The agencies are urging coastal States to “intensify efforts to build their capacity to provide search and rescue services” in response to an increase in sea departures from the region. IOM Director General António Vitorino: People who are merely seeking safety “should not be forced to face such risky and often lethal migration treks”.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UNHCR, and the UNRWA said in a joint news release late on Thursday that the boat had purportedly departed for Europe on Tuesday from the port of Miniyeh, close to Tripoli, Lebanon, carrying between 120 and 170 migrants.
The shipwreck that occurred late on Thursday off the coast of Syria is terrible. 120–170 migrants and refugees, predominantly Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians, were on board. We will assist families who have lost a loved one.
Most of the migrants and refugees were Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians. Women, children, men, and senior citizens were among the travellers.
At least 70 deaths in the Syrian seas were confirmed by search and rescue operations.
20 or more patients hospitalised
The statement read, “Early indications indicate that 20 individuals, some in bad condition, were transferred to the hospital in the city of Tartous.”
It was stated in news sources that the boat was thought to be travelling to Europe, although it is unknown what caused it to sink.
According to the article, the three agencies in Lebanon are following up with the appropriate parties and will assist bereaved families. The survivors healing from their tragedy in Tartous also receive material support from UNHCR in Syria.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said, “This is yet another heartbreaking event, and we send our sincere sympathies to all those involved.”
Call to solidarity
“We need unwavering support from the international community to help better the circumstances of those who have been forcefully displaced and host communities in the Middle East, particularly in nations that border Syria. People are being pushed too close to breaking point.
IOM Director General António Vitorino stated that people who are merely seeking safety “should not be forced to face such risky and often lethal migration treks.”
“To prevent fatalities and safeguard vulnerable people while travelling, we must collaborate to provide safe and legal routes for regular migration.
No one enters these vessels carelessly
It’s tragic, really. These death boats are not taken lightly by anyone. In search of dignity, people are making these risky choices, risking their lives, according to Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of UNRWA.
“We need to do more to provide a better future and combat the sense of pessimism felt in Lebanon and throughout the region, including among Palestine refugees,”
IOM, UNHCR, and UNRWA are urging coastal States to “intensify efforts to build their capacity to provide search and rescue services and to work to ensure predictability in identifying safe places of disembarkation” in response to an increase in sea departures from the region over the past few months.
Identify and address underlying factors
The agencies contend that it is even more crucial that steps be taken to address the underlying causes of these migrations and that the international community increase access to safer, alternative routes by the shared responsibility concept.
“To help alleviate their suffering and enhance their living conditions and chances, much more humanitarian and development support must also be provided to individuals who have been displaced and the host communities throughout the region.
Without this, persons internally displaced, seeking asylum, or travelling in search of safety and protection will continue to risk their lives.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network