A minimum of 20 individuals have drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard throughout a passage between Djibouti and Yemen, the Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) stated Thursday.
Survivors instructed IOM that at the least 200 migrants, together with kids, had been crammed aboard the ship because it left Oulebi in Djibouti within the early hours of Wednesday for Yemen throughout the Gulf of Aden.
About thirty minutes into the journey, smugglers panicked concerning the variety of individuals on board and threw 80 overboard earlier than returning the ship to land, stated Yvonne Ndege, regional spokesperson for the IOM for the East and the Horn of Africa.
“Survivors consider at the least 20 individuals had been killed. There are nonetheless a couple of lacking. 5 our bodies washed up on the bottom,” Ndege instructed AFP.
Survivors obtain medical remedy within the Djiboutian port city of Obock, a significant transit level for 1000’s of African migrants within the area making an attempt to succeed in the Gulf.
There are fears the dying toll is rising with survivors unable to find the household they are saying are on board, Ndege stated.
That is the third such incident within the Gulf of Aden in lower than six months. Two comparable incidents in October claimed the lives of at the least 50 migrants, IOM stated.
“Wednesday’s tragedy is additional proof that criminals proceed to take advantage of determined individuals for the betterment of their lives for revenue, whatever the penalties,” stated the IOM Chief of Mission in Djibouti, Stephanie Daviot.
“Human smugglers and traffickers have to be prosecuted for his or her crimes, and new migration routes have to be established to allow individuals to hunt work alternatives overseas in a protected, authorized and dignified method.”
The nationalities of these on board the ship are usually not but recognized, with testimonies nonetheless being collected from survivors, IOM stated.
However yearly 1000’s of migrants make perilous boat journeys from the Horn of Africa to war-torn Yemen, many with the objective of touring overland to Gulf international locations in the hunt for work.
Journey restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic have sharply decreased the circulation of migrants by way of this route. IOM says round 138,000 individuals made the journey in 2019, up from 37,500 in 2020.
1000’s of migrants are believed to be stranded in Yemen, the place a multi-year battle has left tens of 1000’s useless and displaced tens of millions of individuals in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
The strait that separates Djibouti from Yemen is uncommon in that it sees migrants and refugees go forwards and backwards – boats from Yemenis fleeing to Africa to flee the struggle, whereas others are heading in the other way carrying African migrants to the Arabian Peninsula in the hunt for higher alternatives. .