LAHIJ, 17 June 2021 – Dozens of African migrants are feared dead after a boat carrying them reportedly capsized off the coast of Yemen.
At least 25 bodies have been recovered in the water near Ras al-Ara, according to news reports citing fishermen in the Lahij province of Yemen.
Media reports on Thursday said at least 42 migrants have been confirmed killed or presumed killed.
Over 100 migrants remain unaccounted for, according to a Lahij provincial official who said the boat which ran aground was carrying between 160 and 200 migrants.
Most of the migrants were from countries on the Gulf of Aden or right next-door to it: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland.
The boat mishap occurred three days ago, according to fishermen and officials cited Wednesday in media reports.
As of Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had not yet independently confirmed reports of the boat accident, simply stating on Wednesday that they were “verifying reports” of the boat mishap.
“IOM teams are on the ground and ready to respond to the needs of survivors,” the IOM wrote on its Twitter account.
Last April, the IOM confirmed that at least 44 migrants had died after their boat which left Yemen for the Horn of Africa capsized.
Tens of thousands of African migrants try to make the perilous journey from the Horn of Africa to Yemen in the hope of going on to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in search of gainful employment.
At least 5,100 migrants have already traveled from Africa to Yemen since the beginning of 2021, according to the IOM. It is a slower tick of migration compared to 2020 when at least 35,000 African migrants entered Yemen, down from 127,000 who crossed the Gulf of Aden into Yemen.
Migrants who find themselves in Yemen are usually stuck there and forced to pay smugglers again for a passage back home.
The IOM offices in Djibouti and Yemen says it “is providing food, water, medical care and counseling for survivors of such tragedies and other migrants,” according to a press release.