UNHCR has now interviewed most of the survivors of Saturday’s boat tragedy in the Mediterranean. According to the survivors, their boat departed from Tripoli in Libya on Saturday morning with some 850 people on board, including many children. Among those on board were some 350 Eritreans, as well as people from Syria, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia.
Only 28 people are known to have survived the shipwreck, including a young man from Bangladesh who was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Catania, Sicily, on Sunday, and 27 people who were disembarked later by the Italian Coast Guard in Catania. From available information and the various accounts we’ve had, UNHCR now believes the number of fatalities to have been over 800, making this the deadliest incident in the Mediterranean we have ever recorded.