54 Migrants Die of Thirst

“54 Migrants Die of Thirst in Boat Tragedy Off Tunisia”, re-posted by France 24:

Fifty-four migrants trying to reach Italy died of thirst when their inflatable boat ruptured in the Mediterranean, according to testimony from the sole survivor, Abbes Settou, the UN refugee agency said on Wednesday.

Settou, who drank sea water to survive, was spotted clinging to a jerry can and the remains of the stricken boat off the Tunisian coast on Monday night by fishermen who alerted the coast guard, the UNHCR said…

“He said they were at sea for 15 days in total,” the priest told AFP. “They had apparently reached Italian waters but they weren’t able to call for help because the satellite phone was broken, so the wind pushed them back out into open sea.

“During those 15 days the people on board slowly began dying of hunger and thirst. They were lost, they could not orient themselves…

“This is a tragedy,” said T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees. “I call upon all vessels at sea to be on heightened alert for migrants and refugees needing rescue in the Mediterranean.”…

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