cloudy.png
Monday October 3rd, 2022 7:34PM

Syrian official says so far, 77 dead in migrant boat sinking

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ARIDA BORDER CROSSING, Lebanon (AP) — At least 77 people were killed when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sank off Syria this week, the country’s health minister said Friday, amid fears the death toll could be far higher.

The incident was deadliest so far as a surging number of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians have been trying to flee crisis-hit Lebanon by sea for a better future in Europe. Tens of thousands have lost their jobs while the Lebanese pound has dropped more than 90% in value, eradicating the purchasing power of thousands of families that now live in extreme poverty.

Syrian authorities said victims' relatives have started crossing from Lebanon into Syria to help identify their loved ones and retrieve their bodies. The vessel left Lebanon on Tuesday and news of what happened first started to emerge on Thursday afternoon. The boat was carrying Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinians.

Syrian state-run TV quoted Health Minister Mohammed Hassan Ghabbash as saying 20 people were rescued and were being treated at al-Basel hospital in Syria's coastal city of Tartus. He added that medical authorities have been on alert since Thursday afternoon to help in the search operations.

An official at al-Basel, speaking on condition of anonymity under regulations, told The Associated Press that eight of those rescued were in intensive care. The official also confirmed the 77 deaths. There were conflicting reports on how many people were on board the vessel when it sank, with some saying at least 120. Details about the ship, such as its size and capacity, were also not clear.

Lebanese Transport Minister Ali Hamie said the survivors included 12 Syrians, five Lebanese and three Palestinians. Eight bodies have been brought back to Lebanon early Friday, according to Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi.

After sunset Friday, bodies of more victims, including two Palestinians, were brought to Lebanon. They were taken in seven ambulances and headed south from the Arida border crossing toward the northern city of Tripoli.

Syrian state media said authorities handed over the bodies of nine Lebanese and two Palestinians to the Lebanese Red Cross at the Arida border crossing.

Palestinian Salim Khalaf, whose relative is missing in the disaster, spoke at the border crossing. The migrants, he said, had no choice but to take the dangerous trip to escape misery in Lebanon.

“Letting the fish just eat us is better than living here,” he said of Lebanon. Then, speaking about those who perished, Khalaf added: “They reached a point where they want to die at sea.”

Earlier in the day, Tartus governor Abdul-Halim Khalil told the pro-government Sham FM Radio that the search was underway for more bodies off his country's coast. Khalil said the boat sank on Wednesday.

Syria's state news agency, SANA, quoted a port official as saying that 31 bodies were washed ashore while the rest were picked up by Syrian boats in a search operation that started Thursday evening.

Wissam Tellawi, one of the survivors being treated at al-Basel, lost two daughters. His wife and two sons are still missing. The bodies of his daughters, Mae and Maya, were brought to Lebanon early Friday and buried in their northern hometown of Qarqaf.

“He told me by telephone, ‘I am fine’ but the children are lost," said Tellawi's father, who identified himself as Abu Mahmoud. The father told the local Al-Jadeed TV that his son gave smugglers the family's apartment in return for taking him and his family to Europe.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the Lebanese army said troops stormed Friday the homes of several suspected smugglers, detaining four in the northern city of Tripoli, Lebanon's second-largest and most impoverished. Three others were detained in the nearby village of Deir Ammar.

The military said the suspects were involved in smuggling of migrants by sea while others were planning to buy boats for the same reason.

Lebanon,— with a population of 6 million, including 1 million Syrian refugees, has been in the grips of a severe economic meltdown since late 2019 that has pulled over three-quarters of the population into poverty.

For years, it was a country that received refugees from Mideast wars and conflicts but the economic crisis, rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement, has changed that dramatically.

Prices have been skyrocketing as a result of hyperinflation, forcing many to sell their belongings to pay for smugglers to take them to Europe as the migration intensified in recent months.

In April, a boat carrying dozens of Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians trying to migrate by sea to Italy went down more than 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Tripoli, following a confrontation with the Lebanese navy. Dozens were killed in the incident.

On Wednesday, Lebanese officials said naval forces rescued a boat carrying 55 migrants after it faced technical problems about 11 kilometers (7 miles) off the coast of the northern region of Akkar. It said those rescued included two pregnant women and two children.

____

Associated Press writers Albert Aji in Damascus and Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Taliban: Car bomb near Kabul mosque kills 7, wounds 41
The Taliban say a car bombing near a Kabul mosque killed at least seven people and wounded 41, including several children
11:58AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Trump allies create a new super PAC called MAGA Inc.
Top allies of ex-President Donald Trump are creating a new super PAC that's expected to serve as the main vehicle for his midterm spending and could become a key part of his campaign infrastructure if he moves forward with a 2024 White House run
11:32AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Russian men join exodus, fearing call-up to fight in Ukraine
Military-aged men have joined an exodus from Russia on the second full day of a partial military mobilization
11:31AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
World opinion shifts against Russia as Ukraine worries grow
The tide of international opinion appears to have decisively shifted against Russia, as a number of non-aligned countries joined the United States and its allies in condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine and its threats to the principles of the international rules-based order
10:53AM ( 1 hour ago )
McCarthy unveils House GOP's midterm agenda in Pennsylvania
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is rolling out his party's Trump-like midterm election agenda
10:47AM ( 1 hour ago )
Indiana appeals judge's order blocking state's abortion ban
The state of Indiana has appealed a judge’s order that blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced
10:40AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Pro-government rallies held in Iran amid mass protests
Iranian counterprotesters have gathered across the country in a show of support for authorities after nearly a week of anti-government protests and unrest
9:17AM ( 2 hours ago )
'Knocking on famine's door': UN food chief wants action now
The U.N. food chief is warning that the world is facing “a perfect storm on top of a perfect storm" when it comes to hunger
9:13AM ( 2 hours ago )
US futures dragging Wall Street toward another down week
Wall Street careened toward another day of losses early Friday after more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks spurred fears of a possible global recession and sent oil prices to their lowest level since the opening days of 2022
8:53AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Interview: Sudan's ruling general won't run in elections
Sudan’s ruling military general says he will not run in future elections for a civilian-led government, but he offered no timeline on a vote that would clear the way for him to relinquish power
10:17AM ( 1 hour ago )
Spain plans tax hike for millionaires to help those in need
Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government is planning a temporary higher tax rate on the richest 1% of the country from next year
8:20AM ( 3 hours ago )
At least 4 killed, 10 wounded after blast near Kabul mosque
A Kabul hospital says at least four people are dead and 10 wounded after a blast near a mosque in the Afghan capital
7:47AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP World News
Ukraine: 436 bodies exhumed from mass site; 30 show torture
Ukrainian officials say 436 bodies have been exhumed from a mass burial site in the eastern city of Izium, 30 of them with visible signs of torture
7:40AM ( 4 hours ago )
Denmark to allow 'significantly reduced' mink production
Denmark’s government says a temporary ban on mink breeding will expire Jan. 1, allowing mink production to resume in the country but at a ”significantly reduced” level than before the coronavirus pandemic
7:27AM ( 4 hours ago )
UK scraps corporate tax hike, lifts cap on banker bonuses
The U.K. government has scrapped a corporate tax hike and lifted a cap on bankers’ bonuses in a contentious bid to boost the faltering economy
4:58AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business
UK Treasury chief to set out tax-slashing emergency budget
The U.K. government will publish an emergency budget statement outlining how it plans to slash taxes, tame soaring inflation and boost economic growth as a recession looms on the horizon
3:28AM ( 8 hours ago )
Asian stocks slide for 3rd day on economic growth fears
Asian stocks fell for a third day Friday after unusually large interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve and other central banks to control inflation spurred fears of a possible global recession
2:22AM ( 9 hours ago )
White House hosts local officials, touts impact of policies
The White House is reaching out to local governments
8:13PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Bank of England raises rates but avoids bolder hike like Fed
The Bank of England has raised its key interest rate by another half-percentage point
10:54AM ( 1 day ago )
Bank of England hikes rates but avoids more aggressive step
Britain’s central bank has raised its key interest rate by another half-percentage point, avoiding more aggressive steps to tame inflation that the U.S. Federal Reserve and other banks have taken
10:01AM ( 1 day ago )
Turkey's central bank makes big rate cut amid 80% inflation
Turkey’s central bank has delivered another massive interest rate cut despite eye-popping inflation above 80%
8:50AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Financial Markets
Taliban: Car bomb near Kabul mosque kills 7, wounds 41
The Taliban say a car bombing near a Kabul mosque killed at least seven people and wounded 41, including several children
11:58AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Trump allies create a new super PAC called MAGA Inc.
Top allies of ex-President Donald Trump are creating a new super PAC that's expected to serve as the main vehicle for his midterm spending and could become a key part of his campaign infrastructure if he moves forward with a 2024 White House run
11:32AM ( 37 minutes ago )
Russian men join exodus, fearing call-up to fight in Ukraine
Military-aged men have joined an exodus from Russia on the second full day of a partial military mobilization
11:31AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Lackluster US loses to Japan 2-0 in World Cup warmup
Daichi Kamada scored following Weston McKennie’s giveaway in the 24th minute, Kaoru Mitoma added a goal in the 88th and Japan beat an lackluster and injury-depleted United States 2-0 in the Americans’ next-to-last World Cup warmup
11:22AM ( 48 minutes ago )
Roger Federer bids farewell in last match before retirement
Roger Federer is bidding farewell to his tennis career with one last contest before he heads into retirement at age 41
11:17AM ( 52 minutes ago )