Tunisia morgues running out of space

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TUNIS (Reuters) Tunisia said its morgues are running out of space and authorities are struggling to contain a surge in crossings.

Coastguards have pulled the bodies of at least 70 drowned migrants from waters off Tunisia. Another two boats sank on Monday near the coastal city of Sfax, Faouzi Masmoudi, a judicial official there, told Reuters.

“The morgues in Sfax hospitals are suffering from severe pressure because of the high number of corpses of migrants. It’s a threat to public health,” Masmoudi said.

The bodies of at least 70 African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe had been recovered since Friday, he said, higher than an earlier estimate from the coastguard of 31.

At least 47 people had to be rescued from the boats that sank on Monday, he added.

Tunisia has taken over from Libya as a main departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe.

The Tunisian National Guard said this month that more than 14,000 migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, were intercepted or rescued in the first three months of the year, five times more than recorded in the same period last year.

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