From Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa
AMMAN, 23 September 2022 – “UNICEF is deeply saddened by reports that several children are among those who lost their lives when a boat sank off the coast of Tartus, Syria last night, claiming dozens of lives, including children. Our thoughts and condolences go to their families whose lives have been devastated by this tragedy.
“The boat that left from Lebanon was reportedly carrying around 150 people including Lebanese, Syrian refugees and Palestine refugees. So far, only 20 survivors have been found, while others are still missing. While we cannot yet confirm the number of child casualties, we have received initial reports that 10 children are among those who lost their lives. We have also received reports that another boat carrying 55 migrants sank off the coast of Greece. Three children are reported missing.
“In the past few months, Lebanon has witnessed a rise in such desperate attempts to find safety and better lives in other countries that have left many dead. Earlier this month, three young children reportedly died of dehydration whilst fleeing with their family. Years of political instability and economic crisis in Lebanon have pushed many children and families into poverty, affecting their health, welfare and education. As in many areas in the region, people in Lebanon are living in dire conditions which affect everyone there but are especially acute for the most vulnerable people, including refugees, who had left their homes hoping for a better chance for them and their children.
“Yesterday’s tragedy, and those that have come before it, are harsh reminders that collective action is urgently needed to stop families dying at sea.
“Each and every death of a child at sea underscores the need to protect and support children where they are and expand options for children and families to move safely, without having to risk their lives.
“UNICEF stands ready to provide help to the children and families affected by this tragedy and remains committed to working with Lebanon and other countries in the region to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing at all times.”
UNICEF MENA Regional Office