Tunisia's coastguard has recovered 43 new bodies from Tunisian waters, bringing the death toll from migrant wreckage off the country's coast to 210 in 10 days.
A coast guard official said the death toll was unprecedented and the bodies were decomposing, suggesting they had been underwater for several days.
The past period has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the sinking of migrant boats across the Mediterranean Sea towards the Italian coast, and most of the victims are coming from sub-Saharan Africa, Sudan and Syria, due to the repercussions of economic and political crises in the countries of the region.
According to Anadolu Agency, data from the Italian Interior Ministry showed that more than 36,600 migrants have arrived in the country by sea since the beginning of 2023, compared to about 9,2022 throughout <>.
The island of Lampedusa is the first European destination for the arrival of migrants as it is the Italian region closest to North Africa, according to the Italian agency ANSA, as the island is less than 150 kilometers from the Tunisian coast.
Meanwhile, an AFP quoted Tunisian sources as saying that a central hospital in Tunisia's eastern province of Sfax is no longer able to handle the bodies of irregular migrants who died on crossings towards the Italian coast.
Sfax is one of the areas where Tunisian and sub-Saharan African migrants depart mainly to the European and Italian coasts.
The Tunisian National Guard had earlier announced that it had rescued or intercepted "14,406 people, including 13,138 people from sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest Tunisians" during the first three months of the year.
The pace of migration attempts, which often end in accidents and tragedy of drowning, has increased following a speech in which Tunisian President Kais Saied strongly criticized the phenomenon of irregular migration and the influx of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries, to his country.