A handout photo provided by the Lebanese Army website on April 24, 2022, shows what appears to be a boat carrying migrants before it capsized off the coast of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli. (LEBANESE ARMY WEBSITE / AFP)
BEIRUT – The Lebanese army on Sunday rescued 45 people and recovered eight bodies after a migrant boat sunk in the waters off the northern city of Tripoli.
The Lebanese army said at a press conference that high waves submerged the overloaded boat, which carried more than 50 people.
The Lebanese army said at a press conference that high waves submerged the overloaded boat, which carried more than 50 people
Some of the rescued people were treated on the ground, while others were transferred to nearby hospitals to receive emergency medical care.
Search operations began Saturday night shortly after the boat leaving the coastal town of Qalamoun sunk.
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The Lebanese army, security forces and the Red Cross were deployed at Tripoli's port to join the rescue process.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Sunday asked the judicial and military authorities to start an investigation into the incident.
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration called for continuous international support for Lebanon and the refugees and migrants hosted in the country after the boat sunk, according to a joint press release they sent to Xinhua.
"The tragic event underscores the shockingly high risks that many people are resorting to out of desperation … It is crucial that continuous support is mobilized to help Lebanon as living conditions worsen for refugees and Lebanese alike," said Ayaki Ito, UNHCR representative in Lebanon.
For his part, Mathieu Luciano, head of IOM Lebanon, warned that Lebanon's economic crisis has triggered one of the largest waves of migration in the country's history.
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"Driven by increasingly desperate economic circumstances, a growing number of people are leaving Lebanon through unsafe means. Safe and legal alternatives to irregular migration are urgently needed, including support to local livelihoods and improved access to services in communities at risk," he said.