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Home World News Washington Post World News Migrant boat capsizes off Lebanon; 45 rescued, at least 1 dead

Migrant boat capsizes off Lebanon; 45 rescued, at least 1 dead

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BEIRUT – A boat carrying about 60 migrants capsized off the Lebanese coast on Saturday night and 45 people were rescued, while a young girl was confirmed dead and the rest missing, officials said.

Transport Minister Ali Hamieh told The Associated Press that 17 people had been taken to shore along with the young girl’s body. He said 28 others were later rescued by the Lebanese navy.

“For the rest, searches are underway,” Hamieh, who is supervising the rescue operations, said by phone.

He said authorities did not have exact numbers of the migrants because they had left the country illegally. But the Lebanese Red Cross said the boat had about 60 migrants on board.

The Red Cross said it sent ambulances to the port of the northern city of Tripoli in case of injuries.

Lebanon has been a refugee country for many years, but since the country’s economic collapse began in October 2019, hundreds of people have left on boats bound for Europe.

Migrants have paid thousands of dollars to smugglers to bring them to Europe in the hope of a better life. Hundreds have reached European countries while dozens of others have been stopped and forced to return home by the Lebanese navy. Over the past three years, several people have died on their way to Europe.

According to Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s office, the boaster capsized shortly after leaving the northern coastal town of Qalamoun near Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city. Tripoli is the most impoverished city in Lebanon.

Mikati’s office said the Lebanese army and authorities were on high alert following the case.

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean country of 6 million inhabitants, including 1 million Syrian refugees, is gripped by the worst economic crisis in the country’s modern history. The economic collapse has pushed more than three quarters of the country’s population into poverty.

The World Bank describes the crisis as one of the worst in the world since the 1850s. Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs and the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value.



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