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60 migrants feared missing after boat capsizes on lake in Turkey

60 migrants feared missing after boat capsizes on lake in Turkey
Written by Maritime First

…As India’s COVID-19 death toll rises to 17,400 with total cases hitting 585,493***

Turkish’s Interior Minister on Wednesday said no fewer than 60 migrants were feared missing after a boat capsized on Lake Van in south-eastern Turkey.

“Six bodies have been recovered from the lake since the incident late on Saturday,’’ Suleyman Soylu told newsmen in the city of Van.

According to Soylu, the boat is believed to have been carrying 55 to 60 illegal migrants.

Lake Van is close to the border with Iran and sits on a path in which asylum seekers and migrants, particularly those from Afghanistan, have been using as a gateway into Turkey in the hope of reaching Europe.

Meanwhile, the identities of the victims were not immediately clear.

Soylu said search and rescue efforts were still underway and added that 11 people had so far been detained in relation to the incident.

In December, seven people died and 64 were rescued after another boat carrying migrants capsized on Lake Van.

The boat had been carrying migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Turkey hosts nearly four million refugees, including 3.6 million from neighbouring war-torn Syria.

Ankara has been blocking refugees from reaching the European Union in return for billions of euros in aid under a 2016 agreement.

In February, Turkey said it would no longer stop thousands of migrants from trying to reach Europe, triggering crowds of people gather on the land border with Greece.

The migrant movement halted following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Also read:  32 drown, following passenger ferry mishap in Bangladeshi river

In another development, India’s Health Ministry on Wednesday said 507 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 18,653 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country.

The new deaths had taken the number of deaths to 17,400 and total cases to 585,493.

“As of 8.00 a.m. (local time) on Wednesday, 17,400 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country,’’ the information released by the ministry revealed.

According to ministry officials, so far 347,979 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

“The number of active cases in the country right now is 220,114,’’ it added.

The country entered unlock 2.0 phase on Wednesday, the guidelines of which continue to impose restrictions inside the COVID-19 containment zones.

It has been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions would remain closed till July 31.

Metro Rail services and places like cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums and assembly halls would be allowed to open in areas outside containment zones.

-dpa, with additional reports from Xinhua


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