Boat Sinks Off Yemen Coast, Killing At Least 39 Aboard

On June 10th, 260 migrants perished when their boat sank off the coast of Yemen. One hundred forty others went missing, and 49 were dead.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 71 individuals made it through the sinking, with the majority of them just requiring basic medical attention. Eight were sent to a nearby hospital for further medical attention. Of those who made it out alive, six were children; of those who perished, thirty-one were women. The IOM acknowledged that continuous search and rescue attempts were hindered by a lack of patrol boats, which was exacerbated by the ongoing war.

Tens of thousands of people flee violence, natural catastrophes, or dismal economic opportunities on a yearly basis as they make the perilous journey over the Red Sea to the oil-rich Gulf. Djiboutian waters were the site of a tragic shipwreck in April, killing scores of people. There have been 1,350 fatalities along the migratory route since 2014.  Six hundred and ninety-eight fatalities, including 105 at sea, were recorded along the route in 2023.

The IOM is providing urgent help to survivors. Because of its decade-long civil conflict, Yemen, the poorest nation on the Arabian Peninsula, presents additional dangers to those who manage to reach it. A large number of people are making the journey to the Gulf Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, in search of employment as domestic workers or laborers.

Human Rights Watch claimed in August that between 2022 and 2023, border guards from the Gulf country of Saudi Arabia killed hundreds of Ethiopians, including those who attempted to enter from Yemen, sometimes using explosive weapons. Riyadh rejected the group’s conclusions, saying they lacked credibility and were not supported by trustworthy sources.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the amount of migrants reaching Yemen increased multiple times between 2021 and 2023, going from around 27,000 to more than 90,000. This is despite the many risks associated with the migratory route.

After a boat that was supposedly carrying as many as 200 people overturned near Yemen in June 2021, the remains of 25 migrants were retrieved.

According to Jalil Ahmed Ali of the Lahij provincial administration, who used information provided by Yemeni smugglers, the boat capsized two days earlier while transporting 160 to 200 individuals.