Djibouti: 28 bodies recovered, as  two boats with 130 overturn

The guardian.At least 130 migrants are missing off the coast Djibouti after two boats capsized, amid new warnings from the UN that six migrants a day die on maritime smuggling routes to Europe and elsewhere.

According to the International Organization for Migration, the alarm was raised over the latest incident after two survivors were recovered. As the search for more survivors continued, the IOM said on Wednesday that 28 bodies had been found.

Hopeful of finding work in rich Gulf countries, thousands of migrants from the Horn of Africa region set off every year from Djibouti to cross the Bab al-Mandab Strait for the Arabian Peninsula.

“Twenty-three bodies were recovered this morning and the coast guard continues (its) search,” said Lalini Veerassamy, the IOM chief of mission in Djibouti, a day after five people were found dead.

According to local witnesses, the missing migrants were loaded into two overfilled boats that capsized about 30 minutes after setting sail.

According to the IOM, an 18-year old survivor said he had boarded the first boat with 130 people on it. The teenager said he did not have any information about the fate of second boat.

The latest incident took place as the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, issued a new report detailing the alarming death toll in the Mediterranean last year.

According to the agency, six lives were lost on average every day as an estimated 2,275 people died or went missing crossing the Mediterranean in 2018, despite a major drop in the number of arrivals reaching European shores.

Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com