UN Reports: 16 Fatalities, Including Children, as Asylum-Seeker Boat Overturns Near Djibouti

The UN’s migration agency reports that a boat carrying asylum seekers capsized off the Djibouti coast, resulting in at least 16 fatalities and 28 individuals still unaccounted for. This incident occurred on Monday night, marking another tragedy on the perilous migration route from Africa to the Middle East. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) described the event as a “tragedy,” highlighting the presence of children among the passengers.

Yvonne Ndege, a spokesperson for the agency, confirmed the deaths, including children and an infant, without providing further details. According to Ethiopia’s ambassador to Djibouti, the boat was transporting Ethiopians from Yemen and capsized off Godoria in northeastern Djibouti, with 33 survivors, including one woman.

This incident follows another boat sinking on April 8, where the IOM reported 38 fatalities and six individuals still missing. Each year, tens of thousands of African asylum seekers embark on a dangerous journey across the Red Sea to Yemen, seeking refuge, escaping conflict, or pursuing better opportunities. This route poses numerous threats, including starvation, health risks, and exploitation by traffickers.

The IOM noted a rising trend in attempted crossings, with Ethiopians comprising the majority of arrivals in Yemen from Djibouti or Somalia. Ethiopia, facing internal conflicts and drought, has a significant portion of its population dependent on food aid. The Gulf of Aden crossing from Djibouti to Yemen claimed the lives of at least 698 people, including women and children, according to the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project in February.