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49 die, 140 refugees go missing as a boat sinks off the coast of Yemen: Another boat tragedy

Seventy-one individuals have been rescued, and search efforts continue. Among the deceased are 31 women and six children.

A boat carrying irregular refugees sank off the coast of Yemen, resulting in at least 49 deaths and leaving 140 others missing, according to a United Nations agency.

The vessel, transporting approximately 260 Somalis and Ethiopians, embarked on a 320-kilometre journey from northern Somalia across the Gulf of Aden. It sank off Yemen’s southern coast, as reported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in a statement on Tuesday.

Seventy-one individuals have been rescued, and search efforts continue. Among the deceased are 31 women and six children, according to the

Yemen serves as a key transit point for asylum seekers from East Africa and the Horn of Africa aiming to reach Gulf countries for work. Despite Yemen’s nearly decade-long civil war, migrant arrivals have surged in recent years, increasing from about 27,000 in 2021 to over 90,000 last year, according to the IOM. Currently, around 380,000 irregular refugees are in Yemen.

Asylum seekers often face perilous conditions, transported by smugglers on overcrowded, dangerous boats across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden. In April, two shipwrecks off the coast of Djibouti claimed at least 62 lives as individuals attempted to reach Yemen.

The IOM reported that at least 1,860 people have died or gone missing along this route, with 480 drowning.

Monday’s sinking “is 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 IOM spokesperson Mohammedali Abunajela.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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