At least 15 Ethiopians died after the boat trying to smuggle them into Yemen broke down and left them stranded in the sea without food or water for a week, Reuters reported a UN migration agency saying.
Survivors said some died from hunger and thirst and others drowned themselves, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said. A number reached Yemen but died before they could get medical help, it added.
Yemen is more than four years into a civil war that has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the impoverished nation to the brink of famine.
But thousands of migrants mostly from the Horn of Africa arrive there every year in the hopes of moving on to wealthy Gulf Arab states and escaping poverty and unemployment at home.
“The migrants were travelling from Djibouti to Yemen when the smugglers’ boat broke down,” IOM said on Twitter late yesterday.
“Those on board reported that lives were lost due to hunger, thirst & intentional drowning, while some people died in Yemen, as they could not reach health facilities in time,” it added.
The migrants were travelling from Djibouti to Yemen when the smugglers' boat broke down. Those on board reported that lives were lost due to hunger, thirst & intentional drowning, while some people died in Yemen, as they could not reach health facilities in time.
— IOM Yemen (@IOM_Yemen) July 30, 2019
The boat, which was originally carrying 90 Ethiopians, arrived in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Monday, the agency said, without giving details on how it got there.
The whereabouts of most of the survivors were unknown, it added.
In May, the agency called for the release of more than 3,000 migrants, mostly Ethiopians, who it said were held in inhumane conditions in two detention centres in Aden and neighbouring Lahj, which are under the control of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.