Tunisian authorities are considering the construction of new cemeteries in light of the recent surge of migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and washed ashore.
The Guardian reports that according to the United Nations, the first three months of 2023 will be the deadliest for migrants fleeing Africa to Europe since the 2017 migrant crisis.
The morgues and cemeteries in the area are overflowing with bodies. Funerals are being held daily for those who have been discovered on the Tunisian coastline.
The Guardian reported that many of the dead were children and women who were pregnant whose boats sank during the perilous journey to Europe.
According to the Tunisian Red Crescent’s data, over 800 bodies washed up on the shore of Sfax last year, the city that is located 170 miles south of Tunis, and the capital of Sfax Governorate. The number of recovered bodies in 2023 is already 300.
Around 12,000 migrants arrived in Italy from Tunisia this year, a 90 percent increase from 2022.
The Sfax Governorate issued a statement saying that “due to the large number of victims, the Habib Bourghiba University Hospital’s forensic medicine department has exceeded its capacity.”
Authorities have suggested “quickly establishing a cemetery for immigrant bodies and providing refrigerated trucks” to transport the often-decomposing corpses.
According to the International Organization for Migration, people fleeing poverty and war-torn countries in Africa often hitch rides from Tunisia on boats heading for Europe.
Tunisia’s coastguard prevented more than 14 000 migrants from leaving in boats during this first quarter of the year. This compares to nearly 3,000 during that same period last.