Peak Migration from Africa to EuropeWorld | September 14, 2023, Thursday // 09:07| views
Migration from Africa across the Mediterranean is steadily increasing, and Tunisia is fast becoming the latest departure hotspot. Nuredin has been fishing near the coastal town of Sfax for more than 20 years. This spring, however, things are changing. The fisherman says that there are more and more boats full of people traveling to Europe. When the weather is bad the locals try to warn them that it is dangerous and to return to the shore, but they almost never do.
"We keep finding bodies in the sea. They get entangled in our fishing nets. We call the coastguard when this happens. You can't work like this. It's terrible. After all, they are people like us," said fisherman Nuredin Lehwabi.
Most migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean start from this region. More than 2,000 people have died so far. Sometimes local authorities even have trouble collecting all the bodies washed up on the beach.
"My only hope is to get across this sea to Europe. I'm doing all this for my mother. I want her to be at least a little bit happy for the first time in her life," said migrant Susud Sanneh.
The Coast Guard often takes survivors to this hospital. And the health facility is unable to cope with the flow of people. Dr. Hamdawi says he feels like he's in a war zone lately.
"We have too many people coming to us at once. We don't have enough doctors and nurses to take care of everyone. We also lack medicine and equipment," explained medical director Rabia Hamdawi.
Most migrants like Susud don't care who profits from their journey. Their main goal is to collect the necessary money to get on a boat and take a risk. Here comes the role of traffickers.
"Our people control the entire beach. Some of our guys have direct connections with the regional security forces. They tell us when it's safe. We pay up to 10,000 euros to inform us," explained their associate.
And as Tunisia grapples with increasing migrant flows to the old continent, the European Union is also promising to step in with help.
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