49 Dead, 140 Missing After Migrant Boat Sinks

(RepublicanReport.org) – In early 2020, sources reported that worn-torn Yemen was part of the pathway for migrants traveling from countries in Africa to find work in nations along the Gulf, like Saudi Arabia. The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported 150,000 migrants arrived in Yemen in 2018 — a 50% increase from the year before. In recent years, the number of people making the dangerous trek has tripled.

On June 11, the IOM reported that a boat carrying about 260 Somalis and Ethiopians sank off the coast of Yemen, killing at least 49 — including 31 women and 6 children. Sadly, another 140 are still missing. The boat traveled about 200 miles from Somalia and was attempting to cross the Gulf of Aden when it went down. Rudum District Director Hadi Al-Khurma told Reuters that “fishermen and residents” saved 78 migrants. Rescuers are still looking for survivors.

According to the IOM, nearly 2,000 people have either died or disappeared while attempting to make that journey. About a quarter of them drowned. IOM spokesperson Mohammedali Abunajela called the tragedy a “reminder of the urgent need to work together” on migration to ensure safe conditions for those traveling “along migration routes.” Migrants typically rely on smugglers to help them navigate the waters, which leaves them vulnerable to human trafficking and the like. Abunajela sent his thoughts out to the “victims and their families,” vowing to continue rescue efforts.

Survivors from the recent incident said there were 115 Somali nationals and 145 Ethiopians on board, leaving port from Bossaso in mid-afternoon on June 9. The vessel capsized the next day. Of the 71 survivors, only 8 required additional medical attention, while the majority were treated onsite for minor wounds. Psychologists were offering mental health support for 38 of the migrants requiring such care.

The IOM reported its tracking unit saw over 97,200 migrants arriving in Yemen in 2023, a 33% increase from the previous year. Economic instability, droughts, and extreme weather in some African countries prompt migrants to leave the country for their survival.

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