Mon, 04 Jul 2022

NAIROBI, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The number of migrants from the Horn of African region who succumbed to drowning and dehydration in their perilous journey to the gulf region has increased, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Friday.

According to an IOM statement released in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, 101 deaths of migrants linked to multiple causes occurred in Djibouti in 2021 as they attempted to cross over the Red Sea to Yemen, while eight migrants died while on transit through the northern Somalia port city of Bosaso.

"The most frequent causes of deaths and disappearances during migration in 2021 were drowning (64) and harsh environmental conditions (5) particularly the high temperatures that all too frequently result in exhaustion and dehydration," said IOM.

Extreme heat along the Eastern Corridor that connects the Horn of African region to the gulf has exposed migrants to dehydration and starvation, often leading to death, says IOM.

These migrants often walk on foot across a vast desert with temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius during summer, and often succumb to dehydration, according to IOM.

In addition, the migrants have fallen victim to smugglers who transport them using rickety boats that cannot withstand turbulence in the Red Sea, leading to drowning.

Statistics from IOM indicate that in March 2021, smugglers threw an estimated 80 passengers overboard from an overfilled boat carrying over 200 people, resulting to 20 deaths and undocumented disappearances in the Gulf of Aden.

When a returning boat capsized in the Gulf off the coast of Djibouti in April 2021, 44 people including 16 children drowned and in June 2021, a boat carrying 200 passengers capsized in Bab-al-Mandab strait near Ras al-Ara, Yemen, resulting to 25 confirmed deaths, the IOM said.

The UN migration agency said that over one thousand deaths and disappearances during migration have been recorded in the East and Horn of Africa region since 2014.

It added that the number of Horn of African migrants who lost their lives while on transit along the perilous Eastern Corridor is underreported, hence the need for enhanced data collection by governments and relief agencies.

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