Several people are still missing after a boat carrying about 60 people capsized near the Lebanese port of Tripoli.
A child is killed and 45 people are rescued after a boat carrying about 60 migrants sinks off the coast of Lebanon, killing people across the spiraled sea due to the economic crisis.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamie told a local TV station: “45 people have been saved and the body of a child.”
He said there were about 60 people on the boat carrying migrants leaving Lebanon.
“The search is ongoing,” Hamie said.
The Lebanese government said in a statement that Prime Minister Najib Mikati was monitoring the sinking of a passenger boat departing from the Qalamoun area, south of Tripoli.
The Lebanese Red Cross said it had sent 10 ambulances to Tripoli.
An AFP reporter said the army had closed the port, allowing only emergency vehicles to move in and out.
The families of some of the passengers gathered to check on their loved ones, but they were denied access.
“This happened because politicians forced unemployed Lebanese to leave the country,” said a man waiting for news from a relative outside the port.
Lebanon, a country of about six million people, is grappling with a unprecedented financial crisis which the World Bank says is on a scale typically associated with war.
The currency has lost more than 90% of its purchasing power and most of the population lives below the poverty line.
The UN refugee agency says at least 1,570 people, 186 of them Lebanese, have left or attempted to leave Lebanon between January and November 2021 by sea.
Most are hopeful access to European Union member Cyprus, an island 175km (110 miles) away. This is up from 270 passengers, including 40 Lebanese, in 2019.
Most of those trying to leave Lebanon by sea are Syrian refugees, but increasingly Lebanese are joining their ranks.
Tripoli is Lebanon’s second city and the poorest city on the Mediterranean, according to the United Nations Habitat programme.