44 migrants die of thirst while crossing the Sahara desert

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At least 44 migrants have died of thirst after their truck broke down in the Sahara desert in northern Niger, aid workers and local officials say. It happened as the number of migrants who cross the desert is on the rise.

The deaths were discovered when six survivors arrived in the remote town of Agadez on the edge of the Sahara. The survivors – all of them women – told local authorities that at least 44 other migrants had died of dehydration.

The migrants ran into trouble when the truck they were traveling in broke down in the desert, though it was not immediately clear how long they had survived in the desert. A search for the bodies was still underway on Thursday.

Those who died include 3 babies, 2 older children, and 17 women, the survivors said. Most of the victims are believed to be from Ghana and Nigeria and they were likely trying to reach Libya as part of a journey to reach Europe.

Many migrants cross the Sahara desert to reach departure points to Italy while others move through the Middle East to reach Greece. It is unknown how many people die in attempts to cross the desert because bodies are usually left behind and may never be found.

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