NOUADHIBOU, Mauritania, December 5, 2019/ — At least 58 people are confirmed dead after a vessel carrying migrants sank as it approached the coast of Mauritania today.
Eighty-three others swam to shore and are receiving assistance from Mauritanian authorities, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR.
Survivors told IOM staff in Nouadhibou, the second largest city in northern Mauritania, that at least 150 people including women and children were aboard the vessel, which they said began its journey last Wednesday (27/11) in The Gambia.
They said the vessel was running low on fuel when it approached the northwest African nation.
“The Mauritanian authorities are very efficiently coordinating the response with the agencies currently present in Nouadhibou,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania.
“Our common priority is to take care of all those who survived and bring them the support they need.”
The injured have been transferred to the city hospital; IOM is deploying a medical doctor to support the local response. The Mauritanian authorities are coordinating with the Gambian consular services to ensure that the necessary support is provided to the migrants while in Nouadhibou and the Gambian Ambassador will travel to the city.