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Up to 600 missing at sea in Central Med: IOM

TUNIS, TUNISIA (AP) – The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said up to 600 people attempting to reach Europe by sea from Tunisia and Libya have gone missing during the first three months of 2022, the highest figure since 2014.

In the latest tragedy, according to Tunisian authorities, a wooden boat carrying over 100 people capsized early on Tuesday near the island of Kerkennah in southeastern Tunisia due to bad weather. The IOM said on Wednesday that 30 people from that boat were rescued but 75 are still missing.

Tunisian navy and coast guard continued to comb the area on Thursday where the tragedy occurred.

On Wednesday, dozens of migrants fell into the water as they struggled to cling to an upturned boat off the coast of Tunisia. Some 110 people were rescued by the non-governmental organisation Open Arms.

Head of migrant protection at the IOM Alice Sironi told The Associated Press that the central Mediterranean migration route, which runs between Libya and Tunisia across the sea, remains particularly deadly.

Migrants sit in a wooden boat adrift off the waters of Tunisia. PHOTO: AP