Yemen - Details of at least three fatal migrant shipwrecks off Africa since December 5th continue to concern IOM.
Reports of as many as 100 migrants losing their lives off African coasts near Spain, Italy and Yemen demonstrate how winter’s approach has not significantly curbed the number of migrants seeking safety, nor altered the lethal nature of many of these voyages.
It was initially reported out of Yemen last Sunday that 70 migrants died when their boat capsized in rough weather off the coast of Taizz governorate near Bab El-Mandeb strait. However, in meeting with IOM, local authorities reported that 24 migrants were aboard and are now assumed to have drowned.
Migrants often take unseaworthy and overcrowded boats that smugglers operate as part of an increasingly organized transnational criminal network. Every year, tens of thousands of desperate migrants and refugees risk their lives and embark on the dangerous journey across the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into Yemen in search of better lives.
Since January 2014 in fact, it is estimated that over 70,000 migrants and refugees arrived from the Horn of Africa; while over 250 migrants died at sea. Alarmingly, the number of deaths at sea in 2014 continues to rise and has reached unprecedented levels since 2010.
“The deaths of these migrants and others who will attempt to flee armed conflict, poverty and drought calls for the immediate strengthening and capacity building of regional and national law enforcement institutions, to save lives and to effectively prosecute criminal elements engaged in human smuggling and trafficking in the region,” said IOM Yemen Chief of Mission Nicoletta Giordano.