At Least 58 Migrants Dead after Boat Capsizes Near Coast of Mauritania

Nouadhibou, December 05, 2019 –  At least 58 people are dead after a boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off the West African nation of Mauritania, the UN migration agency said Thursday. It said 83 people swam to shore.

Eighty-three others swam to shore and are receiving assistance from Mauritanian authorities, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.  It was one of the deadliest disasters this year among migrants trying to make the perilous journey to Europe.

Survivors told IOM staff in Nouadhibou, the second largest city in northern Mauritania, that at least 150 people including women and children were aboard the vessel, which they said began its journey last Wednesday (27/11) in The Gambia.

They said the vessel was running low on fuel when it approached the northwest African nation.

“The Mauritanian authorities are very efficiently coordinating the response with the agencies currently present in Nouadhibou,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania.

“Our common priority is to take care of all those who survived and bring them the support they need.”

The injured have been transferred to the city hospital; IOM is deploying a medical doctor to support the local response. The Mauritanian authorities are coordinating with the Gambian consular services to ensure that the necessary support is provided to the migrants while in Nouadhibou and the Gambian Ambassador will travel to the city.

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