At Least 48 Migrants Drown off the Coast of Tunisia
At least 48 migrants were killed and 68 rescued after their boat sank off the coast of Tunisia Sunday night. according to the Tunisian government, the boat was headed towards Sicily, Italy, and was carrying migrants from Tunisia and other African countries. One survivor, Wael Ferjani, said that the maximum capacity of the boat was 90 people, and that there were 180 on board. Another survivor claimed that the captain of the boat escaped when it began to sink in order to avoid arrest by the coastguard. Human traffickers have increasingly been using Tunisia as a launchpad for migrants heading to Europe after the Libyan coastguard tightened its security.
While Tunisia is considered to be the most successful post-Arab Spring country, the nation has been struggling with a deep economic crisis since the 2011 revolution, with the youth unemployment rate currently at 35 percent. The plague of youth unemployment is widespread across North Africa. Accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, these conditions drive young men to attempt the risky journey to Europe. There, they believe, they will find jobs and make enough money to sustain a reasonable standard of living. However, this is rarely the case. Incidents like Sunday night’s are not uncommon, as 660 migrants have already drowned in 2018. While 32,080 of them had reached Europe by sea this year, according to the International Organization for Migration their living conditions are harsh as they struggle to find jobs, face abuse and discrimination, and grapple with poverty in an unfamiliar environment. Different European countries are trying to decrease the flow of migrants by heightening their border security measures. Italy’s new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said that Sicily must stop being the “refugee camp of Europe.”
Photo source: Sky News