Forty-six Ethiopians drowned and 16 were missing after a smuggler’s boat carrying at least 100 migrants capsized as it approached Yemen, the UN migration agency said.
The boat left Bossasso port in Somalia on Tuesday, with 83 men and 17 women on board hoping to find work in Yemen and the Arabian Gulf, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said, citing information from survivors.
IOM director of operations and emergencies, Mohammad Abdiker, said the Gulf of Aden migration tragedy was shameful.
“Over 7,000 poor migrants take this perilous journey every month; some 100,000 took it last year. They are treated appallingly and go through horrendous conditions. This has to end,” he said in a statement.
The drownings happened just days after IOM helped 101 Ethiopians, including 51 women and 33 children, to leave Yemen for Djibouti, as fighting closed in around Yemen’s key port Hodeidah.
They were stranded in Yemen and among the most vulnerable of about 300 migrants in detention, IOM said.
“Both while travelling to and in Yemen, migrants are routinely abused by smugglers and other criminals, including physical and sexual abuse, torture for ransom, arbitrary detention for long periods, forced labour and even death,” the IOM statement said.
Some migrants were caught up in the war and were injured, killed or taken to detention centres, official or unofficial, IOM said.