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At least 39 dead when migrant boat sinks off Yemen coast, UN says

A boat with 260 migrants on board sank off the coast of Yemen on Monday. At least 39 people were killed and 150 others are missing, the United Nations International Migration Agency said on Tuesday.

The International Organization for Migration said in a message posted on social media that 71 people survived the sinking.

The nationality of the migrants on the boat was unclear. Every year, tens of thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa make their way across the Red Sea to reach the oil-rich Gulf, fleeing conflict, natural disasters or poor economic prospects.

    / Photo credit: Getty/iStockphoto    / Photo credit: Getty/iStockphoto

/ Photo credit: Getty/iStockphoto

In April, two boats sank off the coast of Djibouti just two weeks apart, killing dozens.

The IOM said at the time that it had registered a total of 1,350 deaths on the migration route since 2014, not including this year. In 2023 alone, at least 698 deaths were documented on the route, including 105 who died at sea.

The IOM said on Tuesday that it was providing “immediate assistance to the survivors.”

Those migrants who successfully reach Yemen often face further threats to their security. The poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula is embroiled in civil war for a decade.

A July 2019 file photo shows Ethiopian migrants walking along the shores of Ras al-Ara, Lahj, Yemen, after disembarking from a boat. A boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen on June 10, 2024, leaving at least 39 people dead and dozens more missing, according to the UN immigration agency. / Photo credit: Nariman El-Mofty/APA July 2019 file photo shows Ethiopian migrants walking along the shores of Ras al-Ara, Lahj, Yemen, after disembarking from a boat. A boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen on June 10, 2024, leaving at least 39 people dead and dozens more missing, according to the UN immigration agency. / Photo credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

A July 2019 file photo shows Ethiopian migrants walking along the shores of Ras al-Ara, Lahj, Yemen, after disembarking from a boat. A boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen on June 10, 2024, leaving at least 39 people dead and dozens more missing, according to the UN immigration agency. / Photo credit: Nariman El-Mofty/AP

Many try to get to Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states where they can work as laborers or domestic workers.

In August accused Saudi border officials of killing “at least hundreds” of Ethiopians attempted to infiltrate the Gulf Kingdom from Yemen between March 2022 and June 2023, in some cases using explosive weapons. Riyadh dismissed the group’s findings as “unfounded and not based on reliable sources.”

The IOM said last month that despite the numerous dangers of the migration route, the number of migrants arriving in Yemen “tripled from 2021 to 2023, from around 27,000 to over 90,000.”

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