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75 missing as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Dozens of migrants fall in the water while they struggle to cling to the side of an upturning boat off the waters of Tunisia early Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Some 110 people were rescued by the non-governmental organization Open Arms during a mission in the Mediterranean Sea. Photo: Anne Tootil/Twitter

75 persons have been declared missing after a crowded boat of migrants sank off Tunisia on Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

A security official also confirms an increase in numbers risking the dangerous crossing to Europe, Reuters reports.

According to the IOM, 24 persons had been rescued from the boat, which departed from the beaches of Zawara in Libya and sank off the coast of Sfax.

A Tunisian security official told Reuters that the coastguard had recovered a body as they continue to search for 75 others who were missing.

In recent months, dozens of people have drowned off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy.

Data from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows that more than 123,000 migrants arrived in Italy in 2021, compared to more than 95,000 in 2020.

Writing by Muzha Kucha