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75 people missing, one dead, as migrant boat sinks off Tunisian coast

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75 people have been declared missing, while one has been confirmed dead after a crowded boat carrying African migrants sank off the Tunisia coast of Sfax, while attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations agency on migration, said the accident which happened on Wednesday, adds to the number of such risky and dangerous crossings by African migrants desperate to get to Europe which has been on the increase in recent years.

The IOM said 24 of the people 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 who also confirmed the incident, said the country’s coastguard had recovered a body as they continue to search for 75 others who were missing.

Those who were rescued were aged between 18 and 40 and of various nationalities, including people from Bangladesh, Egypt, Morocco and Cameroon, Sfax courts spokesman Mourad Turki said.

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

“Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years and figures from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) showed that more than 123,000 migrants arrived in Italy in 2021, compared to more than 95,000 in 2020,” the statement said.

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Malian migrants, including children, die as makeshift Europe-bound boat capsizes in Libya

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Twenty-two Malian migrants including three children, have been killed when their makeshift Europe-bound boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, the United Nations as well as the Malian government have confirmed on Wednesday.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), also confirmed that 61 other migrants were rescued and taken to a detention centre in Libya.

The Ministry of Malians Abroad, in a statement, said the people who died were part of a group of 83 mostly Malian nationals who were stuck on a distressed vessel since June 22.

The IOM, in statement by its spokeswoman Safa Msehli, said the rescued victims were brought back to shore with the help of the Libyan coastguard after nine days at sea, adding that the “cause of death for the 22 people was drowning and dehydration.”

Msehli also said some of the survivors were in very poor health and had to be taken to hospital by the IOM.

“The remaining migrants were taken to al-Maya detention centre” in Libya, she said.

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Monkeypox: WHO records over 6,000 cases in 58 countries in recent outbreak

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According to the World Health Organization, more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak.

The United Nations agency is yet to decide declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert.

Its committee reconvene a meeting in July 18 to decide or sooner.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.

Monkeypox, a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, has also penetrated Europe and North America in its recent spread with more than 100 cases recorded outside Africa.

The UN committee meeting in June 27 decided that the disease was not yet a health emergency. There have recently been reported cases in other African countries like Nigeria and Morocco.

“I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus across the world,” Tedros said, adding that a lack of testing meant that there were likely many more cases going unreported.

Until recently, monkeypox had been a disease that was once largely restricted to Africa, but has gradually penetrating Europe and North America in its recent outbreak.

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