IOM, UNHCR mourn Mauritania migrant boat deaths

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have expressed sadness at the tragic deaths of dozens of people off the West African coast between the Mauritanian city of Nouadhibou and Dakhla, Western Sahara.

IOM, UNHCR and partners through a statement said they are providing humanitarian assistance such as medical and psychological support to the victims.

“Despite COVID-19 mobility restrictions, migrants are still compelled to undertake risky journeys”, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission Laura Lungarotti said.

“While we continue to provide humanitarian assistance hand in hand with the Government of Mauritania and civil society, the need for predictable rescue and assistance procedures remains. This is all the more important whilst public health measures are still in place”.

According to an update on IOM’s official Twitter page, a lone survivor was brought to the city of Nouadhibou following a rescue operation by the Mauritanian coastguard on Thursday.

The boat is understood to have left Dakhla, Western Sahara, some days ago and was heading for the Canary Islands before having engine trouble. Those on board were left stranded at sea and began suffering from extreme dehydration. The passengers were mostly from sub-Saharan Africa and included Guineans.