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Haitian president mourns migrant deaths

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SANTO DOMINGO, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Haitian President Michel Martelly Wednesday said he was "deeply affected" by the deaths of at least 30 undocumented Haitians whose boat capsized Monday in the Bahamas.

According to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard, about 30 Haitian migrants drowned when their overloaded boat overturned off Staniel Cay, in the Bahamas.

In a statement posted on the official Facebook account of Haitian government, Martelly expressed his condolence to the families of the victims and discouraged Haitians from endangering their lives in a desperate bid to look for work abroad.

"The president of the republic reaffirms his commitment to maintaining stability in the country in order to promote investment and job creation and reduce these dangerous practices," the statement said.

Another 110 people who were on board of the vessel were rescued by the Coast Guard and members of the Bahamas Defense Forces.

The Coast Guard statement said the survivors "were clinging to the hull of the grounded 40-foot (12-meter) sailboat" when they were rescued Monday night 28 km southwest of Staniel Cay.

According to Haitian daily Nouvelliste, in recent months the U.S. Coast Guard has reported several similar accidents.

Haitian radio station Metropole said, "Haitian authorities have reported an increase in clandestine trips in some regions, including the northeastern region," where migrants depart, often in makeshift boats, for the Bahamas or Miami, Florida.

Press cited Lolo Stern, director of Haitian National Immigration Office, as saying his agency regularly assists migrants who are rescued and repatriated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/xinhua-news-agency/131128/haitian-president-mourns-migrant-deaths