42 Dead After Smuggler’s Boat Capsizes off Coast of Djibouti

(Walta) – At least 42 people have died after a boat operated by people smugglers, transporting approximately 60 migrants escaping conflict in Yemen, capsized on its way to Djibouti, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said.

According to the IOM, it is not known what caused the vessel to capsize, it said.

The organization has expressed concern over the tens of thousands of young African migrants making the dangerous journey from the Horn of Africa to the Gulf States in search of work.

It said Covid-19 has forced many to return to their countries because many borders had been closed because of the pandemic.

Despite the dangers, the number of migrants arriving in Djibouti continues to increase. In March, over 2,343 migrants arrived from Yemen, compared to 1,900 in February. Most were trying to head home to Ethiopia and Somalia. Last month, in a similar incident this time en route to Yemen, smugglers threw 80 people overboard after complaining the boat was overcrowded and sinking. At least 20 drowned, according to survivors.

“IOM is working with the Djiboutian authorities, the humanitarian community, and donors to end this suffering and save lives,” said IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Stephanie Daviot.

Last month, at least 20 migrants died after smugglers pushed 80 of them from a boat off the coast of Djibouti, according to BBC.

IOM in Djibouti and Yemen is providing food, water, medical care, and counseling for survivors of such tragedies and other migrants.

In Yemen, over 6,000 migrants have been identified and registered for Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR), assistance to get home. IOM is calling on governments in the region to increase VHR for stranded migrants.Tags: 

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