Turkish Coast guard member carries a baby into rescue boat after total of 174 refugees from Syria were captured by Turkish coast guard while they were illegally trying to reach Greece on March 12, 2016. (PHOTOGRAPH BY SULEYMAN ELCIN — ANADOLU AGENCY)
A number of Palestinian refugee families from Lebanon have voiced deep concerns that their relatives might have drowned at sea after UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) announced on Monday that they had rescued 36 migrants outside Lebanese territorial waters.
According to a press release issued by UNIFIL, there were 37 migrants onboard the ship; one of them died and the others were rescued. It did not give details about the migrant’s death.
The release, according to AP, did not say where the ship was heading.
However, no information was given about the identities of the migrants, but AP said some Lebanese have been trying to flee the country as a result of the economic crisis it has been facing.
UNIFIL informed the Lebanese navy immediately after the rescue and handed the migrants over to authorities.
UNIFIL’s commander, Major General Stefano Del Col, said the peacekeepers “are doing their utmost to save the lives of these people” and their “priority is to ensure the safety of all the 36 people we have just rescued.”
There are nearly 475,000 Palestinian refugees registered with the UN refugee agency in Lebanon, in which an estimated 270,000 actually reside inside the country. The Lebanese government say only 170,000 Palestinian refugees are in the country.