GENEVA – Forty-six Ethiopians drowned early on Wednesday and 16 were missing after a smuggler’s boat carrying at least 100 migrants capsized as it approached Yemen, the U.N. migration agency said in a statement.
The boat left the port of Bossasso in Somalia on Tuesday, with 83 men and 17 women on board who were hoping to find work in Yemen and the Arabian Gulf, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, citing information from survivors.
The IOM’s director of operations and emergencies, Mohammad Abdiker, said the Gulf of Aden’s migration tragedy was shameful.
“Over 7,000 poor migrants take this perilous journey every month; some 100,000 took it just last year. They are treated appallingly and go through horrendous conditions. This has to end,” he was quoted as saying in the 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 of Hodeidah.
They were stranded in Yemen and among the most vulnerable of about 300 migrants stuck 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 of time, forced labor and even death,” the IOM statement said.
Some migrants got caught up in the war and were injured or killed or taken to detention centers, official or unofficial, IOM said.