The Cradle
Lebanese migrant boat capsizes off Syrian coast, dozens drowned
According to an investigation of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, poverty almost doubled in Lebanon from 42 percent in 2019, to 82 percent in 2021
By News Desk - September 23 2022
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Photo credit: Juan Medina/Reuters

Syrian authorities have found 53 dead bodies and 21 survivors of a capsized Lebanese migrant boat near the coastal city of Tartous on 22 September.

Syrian state media reported that almost 100 people remain missing at sea.

Syrian authorities are still conducting search and rescue operations near the Syrian Mediterranean island of Arwad, according to officials.

According to several survivors, the boat sailed from the Lebanese town of Minyeh, and although it is unclear how many took part in the dangerous journey, around 100 people are estimated to be missing.

In recent months, thousands of people from various nationalities, mostly Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian, have left Lebanon on rafts in an attempt to seek better opportunities in European countries.

Lebanon, once hailed an economic miracle of West Asia, is currently experiencing one of the worst economic crises in recent decades.

The country has been battered by current global affairs, such as the war in Ukraine, affecting energy and grain prices, as well as the rampant corruption of its financial elites.

The World Bank has described the crisis in Lebanon as “deliberate” and blamed the elites for operating a “Ponzi scheme.”

International money lenders such as the IMF have criticized the banking system in Lebanon as well, after some of those institutions allow the withdrawal of only 1,000,000 LBP a day, with a maximum of 12,000,000 LBP a month, in a country where the average bill of a private electric generator alone costs well over 1,000,000 LBP a month.

While depositors have been locked out of most of their savings, a series of relatively harmless bank heists by angry depositors, led to a shutdown of Banks across the country, putting further pressure on the LBP.

According to a report published by the United Nations in September 2021, three-quarters of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line, leading to migration out of the country.