At least 49 people died, 140 missing in a boat with migrants that sank off the coast of Yemen: UN | Migration news

Refugees and migrants are increasingly choosing the dangerous path despite instability in Yemen and the effects of the war in Gaza.

According to the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 49 people have been killed and another 140 are missing after the sinking of a boat carrying refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

The ship that capsized on Monday was carrying about 260 people, mostly from Ethiopia and Somalia, who set off from Somalia’s northern coast to sail 320 km (200 miles) across the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen.

Refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa and East Africa are increasingly making the perilous journey through Yemen to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in the region.

In a statement on Tuesday, IOM said 71 people had been rescued, eight of whom were taken to hospital. The dead include at least six children and 31 women.

In April, at least 62 people died in two shipwrecks off the coast of Djibouti while trying to reach Yemen. The IOM reported that at least 1,860 people were killed or missing along the route, including 480 who drowned.

More and more refugees and migrants are choosing this route despite the devastating effects of Yemen’s nearly decade-long war, which erupted after the Houthi group rebelled and took control of large swathes of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The flow of migration has not been stopped in the wake of Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip.

The Iran-allied Houthis have been carrying out attacks on commercial and military ships in the Gulf of Aden for months, demanding that Israel end the war in Gaza, with the United States and Britain responding with airstrikes in Yemen in an apparent effort to protect international interests.

IOM said last month that the number of migrants arriving in Yemen each year tripled between 2021 and 2023, from about 27,000 to more than 90,000. The agency says there are about 380,000 migrants currently in Yemen.

The sinking of the boat on Monday “is yet another reminder of the urgent need for cooperation to address urgent migration challenges and ensure the safety of migrants on migration routes,” said IOM spokesman Mohammedali Abunajela.