Many People Die or Vanish as Migrant Boat Sinks near Djibouti

Another tragedy struck on a route increasingly used by migrants attempting to reach Gulf countries from the Horn of Africa. At least 16 people lost their lives when a boat carrying them from Yemen capsized off the coast of Djibouti, as reported by the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday.

In a tweet, the IOM stated, “Tragedy as boat capsizes off Djibouti coast with 77 migrants on board including children,” and mentioned that 28 people were missing.

Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti, Berhanu Tsegaye, confirmed that 33 people survived the disaster. Local authorities, along with the IOM, are conducting search and rescue operations.

The boat, which was carrying Ethiopian migrants from Yemen, sank on Monday night off Godoria in northeastern Djibouti.

This incident occurred just two weeks after another boat, also carrying mostly Ethiopian migrants, capsized off Djibouti, resulting in the deaths of at least 38 migrants out of the 66 on board.

According to the IOM, tens of thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa, especially Ethiopia and Somalia, use Djibouti as a departure point every year, hoping to find work in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nations. However, many find themselves stranded in Yemen, facing extremely harsh conditions.

The journey across the coast from Djibouti to Yemen is perilous. Traffickers often target migrants, who are at risk of being kidnapped, arbitrarily arrested, or forcibly recruited into warring groups, particularly in Yemen. In 2023 alone, around 100,000 people, nearly half of whom were women and children, undertook this dangerous journey, according to IOM figures.

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