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A migrant boat sank off the coast of Yemen, leaving at least 49 dead and 140 missing, UN agency says

Dozens of migrants dead

A boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen, leaving at least 49 dead and 140 missing, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration said Tuesday.

The boat was carrying some 260 Somalis and Ethiopians from the northern coast of Somalia on the 320-kilometer (200-mile) journey across the Gulf of Aden when it sank Monday off Yemen’s southern coast, the IOM said in a statement.

It said search efforts were continuing and so far 71 had been rescued. Among the dead were 31 women and six children, it said.

Yemen is a major route for migrants from the East Africa and the Horn of Africa trying to reach Gulf countries for work. Despite a nearly decadelong civil war in Yemen, the number of migrants arriving annually tripled from 2021 to 2023, soaring from about 27,000 to over 90,000, the IOM said last month. Around 380,000 migrants are currently in Yemen, according to the agency.

To reach Yemen, migrants are taken by smugglers on often dangerous, overcrowded boats across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden. In April, at least 62 people died in two shipwrecks off the coast of Djibouti as they tried to reach Yemen. The IOM said at least 1,860 people have died or disappeared along the route, including 480 who drowned.

Monday’s sinking “is another reminder of the urgent need to work together to address urgent migration challenges and ensure the safety and security of migrants along migration routes,” said IOM spokesperson Mohammedali Abunajela.

 



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