Sfax: rising number of migrant bodies reported
29/03/2023 17:16, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - The number of bodies of sub-Saharan African migrants, victims of the recent shipwrecks of migration boats off the coast of Sfax, has exceeded the capacity of the forensic medicine system in the region, Hatem Cherif, regional director of health in Sfax, told TAP on Wednesday.

He added that the number of bodies of shipwrecked migrants currently deposited in the morgue of Habib Bourguiba University Hospital in Sfax has reached 42, while the capacity of the morgue does not exceed 35 bodies.

"Last week, the morgue counted 70 bodies," he said, expressing concern that the situation will worsen with the approach of summer. This poses the double challenge of increasing the pace of irregular migration and accelerating the decomposition of bodies due to rising temperatures.

The Regional Director of Health has appealed to migration organisations, in particular the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), to support the efforts of the local health system by providing refrigerated containers and a refrigerated truck to transport bodies to the hospital.

Faced with this situation, the regional health authorities in Sfax are currently discussing the possibility of expanding the forensic department at the Habib Bourguiba University Hospital and creating a second morgue, Cherif said.

In this context, the same source called on the regional authorities to speed up the allocation of a cemetery for the deceased among the migrants.

The number of bodies buried in various cemeteries in the region in 2022 and the current year has exceeded 800 bodies of migrants from different sub-Saharan African countries.

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