Tunisian Red Crescent on July 21 informed that at least 17 Bengali migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from Libya, while more than 380 were rescued by the coastguard. According to the Tunisia state-controlled media Radio Tataouine, the boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya’s northwest coast, carrying migrants from Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Mali and Bangladesh.
In a statement, Red Crescent official Mongi Slim said that 17 Bengali died and more than 380 other migrants rescued in a boat that set off from Libya’s Zuwara towards Europe. Slim added that the sea army found bodies in the ocean on the boat engine confirming that survivors of different African nationalities are mostly from Bangladesh.
It is worth mentioning that in recent months, several people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings to Europe from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy as the weather has improved. Hundreds and thousands of people have reportedly made the Mediterranean crossing in recent years, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Libya is a frequent departure point for migrants making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing.
Earlier this month, at least 43 migrants drowned off the coast of Tunisia and 84 others were rescued after their boat capsized overnight, the Tunisian Red Crescent said. While speaking to AP, Slim had said that the boat, which was carrying 127 migrants, left Libya's coastal city of Zuwara to cross the Mediterranean Sea toward Italy. He said 46 Sudanese, 16 Eritreans and 12 Bengalis were among the migrants.
In another similar incident, Tunisian coast guards found seven bodies on the beaches of Djerba, an island off the southern coast. They were buried at the cemetery for migrants in Zarzis, Tunisia, who perished in the Mediterranean Sea. Back then the head of the Red Crescent had launched an urgent call about the fate of hundreds of migrants who escaped death as his organization had no means to provide housing.