Not less than 19 migrants drowned and as much as 30 have been lacking Wednesday after their boat sank within the Mediterranean off the north of Cyprus, native safety forces stated.
The boat was carrying 150 individuals, reportedly Syrians, when it went down off the coast of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot-controlled portion of the island, which is just recognised by Ankara.
Greater than 100 individuals have been rescued in a joint operation by Turkish Cypriot and Turkish coastguards after the boat sank off the village of Gialousa (Yeni Erenkoy in Turkish) on the panhandle Karpas peninsula.
Not less than 19 drowned and between 25 and 30 have been nonetheless lacking, the Turkish Cypriot safety forces (GKK) stated in a press release.
The Turkish coastguard stated in a press release that the accident occurred 30 kilometres (18 miles) off the shore of northern Cyprus. It stated that 103 survivors had been rescued.
One was taken by helicopter to Cyprus in grave medical situation, the GKK added.
The opposite 102 have been taken by boats to the port of Tasucu in Turkey’s southern Mersin area the place they arrived Wednesday night, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu information company stated.
The 19 our bodies of the lifeless have been additionally taken to Tasucu for autopsies. One of many survivors was a three-year-old baby, whereas a lady who drowned was pregnant, the Hurriyet newspaper stated.
Search efforts have been underway to get well the lacking with business vessels additionally collaborating, in response to experiences.
Turkey’s DHA information company stated these on board the vessel have been Syrians in search of to go to Europe however this had but to be confirmed.
‘Cemetery for refugees’
Cyprus, some 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Syria’s coast, has not seen the huge influx of migrants skilled by Turkey, Greece and Italy though asylum purposes have risen sharply.
In keeping with the Worldwide Organisation for Migration, 47,637 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea as much as July with solely 47 getting into Cyprus.
In the identical interval, 1,404 individuals misplaced their lives within the crossings, principally these attempting to cross from Africa to Italy or Malta.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in response to a Greek army junta-sponsored coup.
“The Mediterranean should cease being a cemetery for refugees,” Turkish Cypriot president Mustafa Akinci stated after the catastrophe.
Turkey has nonetheless been one of many hubs for migrants and refugees fleeing Syria and different hassle spots like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Greater than one million individuals, many fleeing the warfare in Syria, crossed to European Union member Greece from Turkey in 2015 after the onset of the bloc’s worst migration disaster since World Struggle II.
Turkey struck a take care of the EU in 2016 in an effort to stem the circulation of migrants, and agreed to take again unlawful migrants touchdown on Greek islands in alternate for incentives together with monetary help.