At least 17 Haitian refugees killed as boat capsizes off Bahamas | Hunger News

The Bahamas is a transit route for Haitian immigrants fleeing poverty and violence and searching for to succeed in the US mainland.

Seventeen individuals have died after a ship carrying dozens of Haitian refugees capsized off the coast of the Bahamas, authorities stated, as extra Haitians try to succeed in the US to flee gang violence and poverty at residence.

Rescue groups recovered the our bodies of 17 individuals, together with an toddler, and 25 individuals had been rescued, 4 of them ladies, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis advised a information convention on Sunday.

Davis stated authorities imagine they had been on a speedboat heading for Miami.

“It’s believed that the vessel capsized in tough seas,” he stated.

As much as 60 individuals could have been on board and extra individuals had been presumed lacking, stated Police Commissioner Clayton Fernander.

Bahamian authorities stated that two individuals had been taken into custody, each from the Bahamas, over the suspected human smuggling operation.

All these on board recovered alive or lifeless or who had been nonetheless lacking had been believed to be migrants from Haiti.

The Bahamas police stated the boat capsized some 11km (6.8 miles) off the island of New Windfall.

The Bahamas is a transit route for Haitian immigrants searching for to succeed in the US mainland, and since final yr, the frequency of those irregular voyages utilizing dilapidated ships has elevated, in gentle of the worsening financial and safety situations in Haiti.

Haiti has been reeling from a bunch of different crises. In 2010, it was rocked by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed an estimated 360,000 individuals. The highly effective earthquake devastated a lot of the nation, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Amid persistent insecurity and political instability, Haiti has struggled to rebuild.

A rising variety of Haitians have been fleeing the nation seeking security and work. Many have headed in direction of the US and international locations in Latin America. Most Haitians attempt to cross into the US by land via the US-Mexico border, however others have been taking to the ocean.

The US Coast Guard stated it has intercepted and returned greater than 6,100 Haitians at sea since October, the most important tried migration of Haitian boat refugees in 20 years.

Bahamas Immigration Minister Keith Bell stated survivors indicated that they paid between $3,000 and $8,000 for the voyage.

“We mourn the lives misplaced of these searching for a greater lifestyle,” Bell stated. “These right here with households and buddies in Haiti, encourage your family members to not threat their lives.”

In Might, a ship carrying 842 Haitians certain for the US strayed off beam and washed ashore alongside the north coast of Cuba as an alternative.

That very same month, 11 individuals drowned when a vessel carrying Haitians capsized close to Puerto Rico.

The US continues to expel nearly all of refugees – together with Haitians – beneath a coronavirus pandemic rule that permits border officers to rapidly flip again migrants to their nation of origin, or to Mexico, with out processing their asylum claims.

In September final yr, some 15,000 Haitian refugees gathered in south Texas hoping to say asylum. However US authorities cleared out the makeshift camp and despatched the overwhelming majority again to Haiti on board deportation flights.

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