130 feared drowned off coast of Djibouti – IOM

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (January 30, 2019)

The remains of 30 bodies have so far been recovered after two boats carrying 130 African migrants capsized off the coast of Djibouti on Tuesday.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the tragic accident happened off Godoria, a locality in the Obock region of northeast Djibouti.

The IOM quoted witnesses as saying that the boats capsized roughly 30 minutes after leaving due to overloading and heavy swells.

A total of 16 survivors have been recovered until Wednesday.

“This tragic event demonstrates the risks that vulnerable migrants face as they innocently search for better lives,” said IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Ms. Lalini Veerassamy.

In 2018 alone, 156 Yemen-bound migrants had died off the coast of Djibouti bringing the total to 707 since 2014.

The IOM says it manages a Migrant Response Centre (MCR) in Obock, where hundreds of Yemen-bound migrants are assisted each year if they choose repatriation to their countries of origin under an IOM operated voluntary return programme.

There are currently more than 500 migrants at the MCR, according to the IOM. Most of the migrants are from Somalia and Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that 168 Ethiopian migrants have returned home from Yemen voluntarily.