• The Lebanese government said on Friday that at least 73 people drowned, and dozens are still missing, after a boat carrying migrants and refugees capsized off the coast of Tartus, Syria. The tragedy is likely to be the highest-ever death toll for a migrant crossing from Lebanon.
  • Officials said Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian nationals, including women and children, were believed to be among the 120-150 people who were on board when the boat sank.
  • Search operations were ongoing on Friday, and Syrian authorities say rough seas and strong winds had made the rescue operation difficult. Twenty survivors are being treated in a hospital in Tartus.
  • The World Bank has described Lebanon's financial crisis, which began in late 2019, as one of the worst in modern times. Economic stress has forced many to take dangerous maritime passages to seek a better life in Europe. [Most migrants trying to flee from Lebanon are Syrian refugees.]
  • In 2021, over 3K migrants died or went missing while trying to reach Europe by sea, which is twice as many as in 2020, according to the UN's refugee agency, UNCHR.
  • Most boats that set off from Lebanon head for Cyprus, an EU member state that lies 110 miles to the west. In April, dozens of people on an overcrowded migrant boat died after encountering the Lebanese navy, sparking outrage across the country.


Pro-establishment narrative

There's a spike in the number of people attempting to cross the world's deadliest migration route. The Mediterranean is in a deep humanitarian crisis and the global community must support migrants to find relief, safety, and dignity. It's vital to build on the work of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which has saved more than 586K lives since 2015, to expand safe pathways for those seeking a better life.

Establishment-critical narrative

These endless tragedies in the Mediterranean are due to a failure of the international community, especially the EU. The European bloc has abdicated its responsibility to conduct search and rescue. No EU ships actively patrol anywhere near where most boats enter into distress. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency conducts aerial surveillance for interceptions and returns, but maritime search and rescue remains a glaring gap.

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