37 Bangladeshi migrants feared dead trying to reach Europe: Embassy

Rescued migrants wait at a Red Crescent center in Zarzis, eastern Tunisia, Saturday, May 11, 2019. As many as 70 migrants trying to reach Europe from Libya drowned Friday when their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, and at least 16 other people from the boat were rescued, according to U.N. migration officials and Tunisia's state news agency. (AP Photo/Sami Jelassi)

Staff Reporter:

A total of 37 Bangladeshis among others feared dead in Friday’s boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach Europe from Libya, confirmed Bangladesh Embassy in Tripoli.

“Primarily, we came to know there were 51 Bangladesh nationals among others on the boat,” ASM Ashraful Islam, labour counsellor of Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli told UNB adding that 37 of them are still missing.

“About the death it will be premature to comment rather it can be said that out of 51 rest (37) are still missing. Whether dead or there is chance of rescuing more we don’t know yet. Wait until tomorrow for my presence on the spot. Rescue operation is still going on,” he said.

He said the Embassy is in touch with Red Crescent in Tunisia to know details. “We are yet to reach Tunisia. We hope to reach there today.”

Mongi Slim, the head of Tunisia’s Red Crescent, said Saturday that around 75 migrants had left Libya’s Zouara on the boat.

The BBC Bangla, quoting other agencies, claimed that most of the victims were Bangladeshis.

Slim told the Associated Press that only 16 people have been rescued by a Tunisian fishing boat and 14 of them are Bangladeshis.

He said those still missing are nationals of Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco and unspecified countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Friday’s accident was dubbed the “deadliest migrant boat sinking since January” by the International Organization for Migration.

Many Bangladeshis choose the risky way to reach Europe in the hope of a better life. A number of them often die in the seas.

At least 164 people have drowned in the first four months while crossing  the sea from Libya to Europe, according to the UN.



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