At Least 49 Dead After Migrant Boat Sinks Off Yemen, U.N. Says

CAIRO — The sinking of a boat carrying migrants off the coast of Yemen has left at least 49 people dead and 140 missing, the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday.

The boat was carrying some 260 Somalis and Ethiopians from the northern coast of Somalia on the 200-mile journey across the Gulf of Aden when it sank on Monday off Yemen’s southern coast, the U.N. agency said in a statement.

It said search efforts were continuing and so far 71 had been rescued. The statement counted 31 women and six children among the dead.

Yemen is a major route for migrants from the East Africa and the Horn of Africa trying to reach Gulf countries for work. Despite a nearly decadelong civil war in Yemen, the number of migrants arriving annually tripled from 2021 to 2023, soaring to over 90,000 from about 27,000, the International Organization for Migration said last month.

To reach Yemen, migrants are taken by smugglers on often dangerous, overcrowded boats across the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aden. In April, at least 62 people died in two shipwrecks off the coast of Djibouti as they tried to reach Yemen. The U.N. agency said at least 1,860 people had died or disappeared along the route, including 480 who drowned.

Monday’s sinking was “another reminder of the urgent need to work together to address urgent migration challenges and ensure the safety and security of migrants along migration routes,” said Mohammedali Abunajela, a spokesman for the agency.

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