Forty-six migrants drowned and 16 are missing after their boat capsized off the shore of Yemen on Wednesday, the United Nations Migration Agency said.
At least 100 migrants were crammed on the smugglers’ boat that left the port of Bossaso in Somalia on Tuesday, travelling through the night.
The boat overturned in high waves in the Gulf of Aden at around 5:00 am (0200GMT) as it approached its destination.
“IOM staff reported that 46 migrants had drowned, 37 men and 9 women. A further 16 remain missing, presumed dead,” the agency said in a statement, adding that they were believed to all be Ethiopian.
“Survivors said the passengers, who were without lifejackets in the smuggler’s boat, started panicking as high waves struck close to the shore. As the boat took on water, they were pitched headlong into the rough seas where so many succumbed.”
The group were attempting to cross the Horn of Africa to find employment in Yemen and the Gulf.
Over 7,000 migrants take the perilous journey every month, facing horrendous conditions and appalling treatment at the hand of people traffickers, said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s head of operations and emergencies.
IOM staff provided medical assistance, health, food and psychosocial support to the survivors.