A health official in the Tunisian province of Sfax has warned that the number of bodies of sub-Saharan migrants recovered from shipwrecks in recent days are more than the local medical system can handle.
State news agency TAP cited the regional director of health, Hatem Cherif, as saying that the morgue of Habib Bourguiba University Hospital in the provincial capital had received 42 bodies of migrants - noting that the morgue could only handle 35 bodies.
The bodies were pulled out of the sea after their boats sank in recent days off the province's coast.
Last week, the morgue had received 70 bodies, Mr Cherif was quoted as saying, warning that with summer approaching, the pace of illegal migration attempts by sea would accelerate and the decomposition of bodies would be faster due to rising temperatures.
The official appealed to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to provide refrigerated containers and lorries to transport bodies to the hospital.
TAP noted that more than 800 bodies of sub-Saharan Africans - who had died at sea - had been buried in local cemeteries in Sfax throughout 2022 and this year.
The past few weeks have seen a spike in attempted sea crossings to Italy by undocumented migrants.
On Sunday, domestic media reported the death of at least 29 migrants during attempted sea crossings from Sfax.
The incidents came amid a campaign of arrests of sub-Saharan Africans living in the country and an anti-migrant narrative embraced by President Kais Saied in recent weeks.