Illegal immigrants from Ethiopia attempting to cross into Yemen stand at their makeshift shelter in Bosasso, northern Somalia on April 14, 2015.
Feisal Omar—Reuters
By Eli Meixler
June 7, 2018

Forty-six Ethiopian migrants en route to Yemen drowned after their boat capsized early Wednesday, the U.N.’s migration agency said, while more than a dozen remain missing.

At least 100 Ethiopian migrants were aboard a smuggler’s boat that left the Somalian port of Bossaso when it overturned in high waves off the Arabian gulf country’s coast, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Dozens were pitched into the water, including 37 men and 9 women, who drowned. An additional 16 people are now missing and presumed dead.

“The Gulf of Aden’s shameful migration tragedy is one that is hidden in plain sight,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s director of operations and emergencies.

More than 7,000 migrants cross the gulf every month, according to Abdiker.

“They are treated appallingly and go through horrendous conditions,” he added. “This has to end.”

Since 2013, nearly 290,000 migrants and refugees have crossed the tumultuous gulf for Yemen, the U.N. High Commission for Refugees said last year. Many fled conflict at home, or hoped to use Yemen as a transit point.

But Yemen is no safe haven: the country is wracked by civil war and a humanitarian crisis, with millions on the brink of famine, according to the U.N. Meanwhile, a cholera outbreak last year claimed more than 2,000 lives.

This week, IOM helped more than 100 Ethiopian migrants leave Yemen for Djibouti as violence approaches the western Yemeni port city of Hudaydah.


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