At least 25 people have died after a boat carrying up to 200 migrants capsized off Yemen. The bodies were discovered by fishermen, who stated that the bodies were floating in the waters of Ras al-Ara in the southern province of Lahij.
An official from the Lahij provincial authority ‘Jalil Ahmed’ stated that the boat was carrying between 160-200 passengers when it capsized two days ago, citing information that was obtained from Yemeni smugglers.
Although at least 25 bodies have been recovered, it is unclear what the fate of the other people who were on board the boat was. It was confirmed by the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) that a boat sank in the area but the full details regarding the incident are still trying to be established.
Migrants have been travelling to Yemen from the countries located in the Horn of Africa in the hopes of finding work in Saudi Arabia and other neighbouring oil-rich states whose economies depend on large quantities of foreign labourers. However, demand for labour in the Gulf states has been suppressed as a result of Covid-19.
According to the fishermen, the recovered bodies were of African origin. The route which is taken by migrants to Yemen and rich Gulf states is run by people smugglers and are commonplace in the area.
Some migrants even make return journeys due to Covid-19 and security restrictions blocking routes into Gulf states.
Locals have been appealing to Yemen’s internationally recognised government to intervene in the situation while describing the area as becoming a free-for-all for human traffickers with no action from authorities.
According to the IOM, up to 5,100 migrants have arrived in Yemen so far this year.