It is believed that 17 people were in the boat when the tragedy occurred. Preliminary investigations have shown that eight other passengers are missing. Rescue efforts have been launched to retrieve their bodies.
The boat capsized as a result of strong winds, when the engine stalled at sea between the islands called ‘‘Seven Brothers’’ and the locality of Guen. They were en route to Yemen.
Seven people, including three minors, who were travelling in a second boat, were found at the shore at Kor-angar, 45 kilometres from the Port of Obock. They were exhausted and traumatized. Eleven other migrants, who had been travelling with them, had left the site and have not been traced.
The tragedy adds to the global number of migrants who die while attempting to cross a border and find a new life. IOM has appealed for international efforts to save lives of migrants who end up in the hands of smugglers and take extraordinary risks while trying to improve their situation.
The seven survivors have been admitted at the IOM Migrant Response Centre in Obock. There they will receive medical assistance, psycho-social support, transport and, where necessary referral to Obock Hospital or Djibouti Hospital. An assessment will also be made to assess their longer term needs.
Efforts have started to trace relatives of the survivors and the deceased. IOM is also working with the Djibouti coast guard to trace the eight missing people, in coordination with the Djibouti government, the Ethiopian embassy in Djibouti and IOM Ethiopia. Voluntary returns will be organized for migrants who want to return home after they are fully recovered.
All the migrants are Ethiopian and mainly come from the Oromia region. The last major fatal accident recorded in the Gulf of Aden was on 26 December 2012, when 55 migrants perished.