Boat from Lebanon with 50 migrants missing for days

Passengers include five kids, last alarm off Crete

22 September, 16:24

    BEIRUT - A boat reportedly carrying more than 50 migrants, which set sail from northern Lebanon last week, has been missing for 72 hours, the family members of passengers were quoted as saying by media in Beirut. The relatives said they have not heard from dear ones on the boat since Monday. Alarm Phone, the independent association helping people who cross the Mediterranean, said two days ago on Twitter that it was alerted by passengers of a boat carrying 53 people, including five children, that it was in danger off the island of Crete.

    The families of migrants gathered Thursday in Tripoli, the main city of the region of northern Lebanon, to ask local and central authorities to intervene to track down and rescue the passengers. Some of the refugees blocked streets near the suburban district of Bab Tabbane, one of the most socially and economically marginalized areas of Lebanon. The Lebanese army intervened, according to local media.

    Over the past few weeks, Europe-bound departures from northern Lebanon have increased with mainly Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian migrants. Most of the passengers are families - mainly women and minors - who are trying to flee the devastating financial crisis of Lebanon, the worst in its history.

    The majority of migrant boats, often overcrowded and in bad condition, don't reach their destination. They are intercepted by the Lebanese army or ask to be rescued at sea.

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