Forth-six Ethiopians drowned and 16 were missing after a human smuggler’s boat carrying at least 100 refugees capsized as it approached Yemen.
The vessel left the port of Bossasso in Somalia on Tuesday with 83 men and 17 women on board. They were hoping to find work in Yemen and the Gulf, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said in a statement on Wednesday, citing information from survivors.
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,” said Abdiker.
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 refugees 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 labour, and even death,” the statement said.
Some refugees got caught up in Yemen’s war and were wounded or killed or taken to detention centres, it added.