The Tunisian Red Crescent on Friday confirmed that the death toll from a ship packed with migrants that sank off the Tunisian coast last Thursday, has risen to 72.
According to one of the initial survivors, the boat had 86 people on board and capsized after setting off for Europe from neighboring Libya.
Four survivors were rescued immediately and a search party launched for any remaining survivors.
Libya’s west coast is a main departure point for African migrants hoping to reach Europe with the help of human traffickers, though numbers have dropped due to an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan coast guard.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that between January and June 2019, 555 migrants have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
In 2018, there were 924 deaths while the peak was in 2016 when 2,911 people died.