(NEW YORK) — Sixty-three people are presumed dead after a boat carrying about 100 people from Senegal sank near Cabo Verde, an island about 600 kilometers west of Senegal in the Atlantic Ocean, the U.N. International Organization of Migration told ABC News in a statement Wednesday.
Seven people were confirmed dead, and 56 people were missing, UN IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli told ABC News in a statement. People missing at sea are presumed dead.
There were 38 survivors from the sinking, including four children aged 12 to 16, Msehli said.
This sinking follows an increased trend in migrant deaths and disappearances in 2023 compared to previous years.
At least 1,449 people have died or disappeared on migration routes in the Middle East North Africa region between January and July, a 7% increase compared to the same time period last year, UN IOM Regional Director for the Middle East North Africa region Othman Belbeisi said on social media on Wednesday.
The highest number of deaths and disappearances in 2023 have been in Tunisia and Libya, with 619 people dead or missing from Tunisia followed by 508 people dead or missing from Libya, according to data from the UN IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.
“One death is one too many. This alarming death toll demands concerted efforts to ensure the safety and protection of migrants,” Belbeisi said in a statement. “We are all responsible.”
The landing of migrant boats in Italy more than doubled compared to the same time period in 2023, the Italian Interior Ministry said this month. The main country of departure for migrants landing in Italy was Tunisia, the Interior Ministry said.
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