After a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon sank off Syria's coast, the overall toll has risen to 94. At least 14 survivors were recovering in hospitals in Syria, while six others were discharged. Two remained in intensive care. As many as 150 people were on board the small boat that sank off the Syrian port of Tartus, some 50 kilometres north of Tripoli in Lebanon, from where the migrants set sail. Those on board were mostly Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, and included both children and elderly.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Filippo Grandi, described the shipwreck as a "heart-wrenching tragedy".
Nearly three years of economic collapse have turned Lebanon into a launchpad for migrants, with its own citizens joining Syrian and Palestinian refugees clamouring to leave by dangerous sea routes.
Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said: "No one gets on these death boats lightly. People are taking these perilous decisions, risking their lives in search of dignity." Lazzarini said more must be done "to offer a better future and address a sense of hopelessness in Lebanon and across the region, including among Palestine refugees".
Antonio Vitorino, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said: "People looking for safety should not be compelled to take such perilous and often deadly migration journeys."