Lebanese Authorities Want To End Deadly Sea Crossings

Lebanese Army | LBCI News

After tragic emigration attempts claimed the lives of several people, including infants, Lebanese authorities decided to amp up their efforts to stop deadly illegal sea crossings from Lebanon’s shores. 

During a meeting at Baabda Palace on Thursday, security forces were told to take measures to put an end to these illegal and dangerous migration attempts by sea. 

Motivated by poverty and multiple crises in Lebanon, vulnerable Lebanese citizens and non-Lebanese residents, including Syrian refugees and migrant workers, have risked their lives crossing the sea from the northern coast in search of a better life.

In the past weeks, at least 21 unseaworthy boats overcrowded with people seeking refuge from Lebanon have been recorded. Cypriot authorities have called on Lebanese security forces to handle the dangerous crossings internally. 

Several people, including babies, died on the death boats and had to be thrown in the sea. A number of men jumped off the boat to search for help and never returned. Some bodies have washed up to shore or been recovered from the sea by maritime patrol. y

In the meeting, the Lebanese president called for the “root cause” of the illegal emigration to be tackled, including fighting/stopping the smugglers that have been organizing these illegal sea crossings. 

The problem, however, is that these smuggling operations are not the “root cause” but its consequences; one of the symptoms of the disease that has crumbled Lebanon into an agonizing status.

Unbearable living conditions, the alarming increase in poverty, no basic amenities, no jobs, banks holding tight onto people’s savings, smuggling of subsidized essentials to Syria, misgovernance of the country’s affairs leading to never-ending crises, stalling to implement urgent reforms, and the list goes on and on, including political parties adamant to hinder the formation of a government until it suits them.

That is the “cause root” of these deadly sea crossings; the condition of the state that has allowed the situation to spiral so far down the rabbit hole and continues to do so.

The despair among people is such that they are willing to face death for a dream that is waning in Lebanon.

One survivor said that despite barely making it alive, he would attempt this dangerous crossing again. That survivor had jumped off a stranded dinghy in search of help and got lost at sea for days until coming across a UNIFIL ship.

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