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Migrants fleeing Lebanon on boat returned to country by navy

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

Lightning strikes off the coast of Lebanon's northern seaside town of Anfeh during a storm on November 19, 2021.
Ibrahim Chalhoub/AFPLightning strikes off the coast of Lebanon's northern seaside town of Anfeh during a storm on November 19, 2021.

Hundreds of Lebanese citizens have been rescued at sea since the start of Lebanon’s financial woes

A boat full of migrants fleeing Lebanon was rescued by the country’s navy after breaking down in waters off the state's coast, according to a statement from Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Office. 

The migrants aboard the vessel left Lebanon illegally, the office explained on Saturday, and the ship was towed back to the country by its naval forces.

After reentering Lebanon, the migrants, who numbered in the dozens, were detained for interrogation, according to the National News Agency.

This prompted outrage from relatives, who demonstrated to secure their release, blocking access to three major roads during protests.

Hundreds of Lebanese citizens have been rescued at sea since the beginning of Lebanon’s financial woes in 2019, according to the Associated Press.

In 2020, several migrants departing the state drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in an attempt to reach Europe’s harbors.

The financial situation in the country is dire, driving many to flee and seek opportunities abroad.

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Lebanon’s local currency lost over 90 percent of its value, and the World Bank says the nation’s economy is confronting “one of the most severe global crises.”

On Friday, Mikati declared that the government’s cabinet will meet soon, a conference which could potentially lead to progress in talks with the International Monetary Fund about granting foreign aid to Lebanon.