DUBAI: At least 15 Ethiopian migrants died after their boat broke down and left them stranded in the Gulf of Aden for a week without food or water, a UN agency said.
“Over 90 Ethiopian migrants were stranded on a boat between Djibouti and Yemen for one week with no food and water leading to the death of at least 15 people,” the International Organization for Migration (IOM) tweeted late Tuesday.
“The migrants were travelling from Djibouti to Yemen when the smugglers’ boat broke down.
“Those on board reported that lives were lost due to hunger, thirst and intentional drowning, while some people died in Yemen, as they could not reach health facilities in time.”
The IOM said it was treating one survivor, while the whereabouts of the majority of the survivors were not known.
It said they reached the Yemeni port city of Aden, but it was unclear how they got there.
Yemen has been embroiled in a years-long conflict between the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels and the government — backed by a Saudi-led military coalition — that has pushed the country to the brink of famine.
But the nation remains on an established route for migrants from the Horn of Africa, who typically first travel by land through Djibouti before undergoing perilous boat journeys across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen.
Many say they aim to travel by land to oil-rich Saudi Arabia to find work.
Often they do not survive the journey, dying at sea or at the hands of panicked smugglers.
Nearly 150,000 migrants arrived in Yemen last year, according to the UN.