A marine unit of Tunisia's coast guards has rescued 19 Tunisian illegal immigrants from drowning 60 kilometers off the fishing port of the country's province of Sfax, the spokesman of the maritime guard, Ali Ayari, announced yesterday.
Ayari said that the migrants were from Sfax, adding that they ranged in age from two to 46 years old.
"The migrants included 14 men, two women, two children and a baby," he noted, pointing out that the country's public prosecution had authorised legal action in the matter.
Emigration from Tunisia has been on the rise as a result of the financial instability in the country. Between 2011 and 2018, EU assistance to Tunisia amounted to over €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion), including over €1.7 billion ($2 billion) in grants and €800 million ($922 million)in macro-financial assistance, in an effort to help boost the economy and encourage the creation of jobs to entice Tunisians to remain in their country and not make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.