At Least 21 Ethiopians Dead as Immigrant Boat Capsizes Off Djibouti Coast


At least 21 migrants were dead and 23 others missing after a boat capsized off the coast of Djibouti, the UN migration agency said.

The boat was carrying 77 people, including children, across the Red Sea from Yemen to Djibouti on Tuesday, the International Organisation for Migration said.

At least 33 people were rescued, with many of the survivors requiring transport to a hospital in Djibouti for treatment. Search continues for the missing.

Those rescued and treated have been repatriated to Ethiopia, the agency said.

A capsized boat is seen near the coastal town of Obock in northeastern Djibouti Tuesday (AP)
A capsized boat is seen near the coastal town of Obock in northeastern Djibouti Tuesday (AP)

Thousands of migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia have been leaving for better work opportunities in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. Many are killed as they undertake dangerous voyages across the Red Sea and many get stranded in Yemen where they live in harsh conditions, the migration agency said.

Tanja Pacifico, head of the agency’s Djiboutian office, sounded concern over rising shipwrecks off the Djibouti coast. “What is exceptional is that is we had another shipwreck with 38 Ethiopian nationals just less than two weeks ago,” Ms Pacifico told Reuters.

“These numbers have been increasing over the past few months.”

Another boat had capsized in the same waters on 2 April, leaving 38 migrants dead.

Ms Pacifico said all the dead in the latest tragedy were Ethiopians.

Berhanu Tsegaye, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Djibouti, condoled the deaths.

“Illegal travel from Djibouti to the Middle East countries is extremely dangerous and we are constantly losing the lives of our citizens,” he said.