Overcrowded migrant boat overturns near Yemen, dozens missing

by IANS |

Sanaa, Nov 14 (IANS) Dozens of migrants went missing and are feared dead after an overcrowded boat overturned near Yemen's coast, a government official has confirmed.

The official told Xinhua news agency late on Monday that the boat carrying approximately 75 migrants overturned near the coastal city of Mocha on Sunday.

He clarified that all the passengers were predominantly migrants from countries in the Horn of Africa seeking asylum in Yemen.

He said that strong winds are believed to have caused the boat to overturn.

While 26 survivors managed to swim ashore and were rescued by the Yemeni coastguard troops, at least 49 other passengers remained missing, according to the official.

Yemeni authorities, including the coastguard units, have engaged in search and rescue efforts.

"It is a heartbreaking tragedy," said Ahmed Ali, an officer for the Yemeni coastguard troops.

"These migrants left their homelands hoping to find refuge in Yemen. Instead, they have met with disasters at sea."

After more than eight years of conflict, Yemen continues to face one of world’s largest humanitarian crises with 21.6 million people in need of assistance in 2023, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The humanitarian situation has triggered widespread food insecurity and destroyed public infrastructure, drastically reducing access to key public services.

Amidst this instability, migrants traveling from the Horn of Africa through Yemen to Gulf countries are among the most marginalised and vulnerable groups of people in need, the IOM says.

Thousands have been left stranded across Yemen with limited options for safe movement.

Many migrants face trafficking, torture, extortion, arbitrary arrests, xenophobia and other forms of inhumane treatment.

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