Shipwreck Kills Over a Dozen Ethiopian Migrants Trying to Reach by Yemen New York times

December 10th, 2014 Print Print Email Email

At least 21 migrants from Ethiopia drowned while trying to reach the coast of Yemen, according to the United Nations refugee agency, which has recorded a sharp increase this year in the number of people who have died while attempting the crossing, mainly from the Horn of Africa.

The Interior Ministry of Yemen said that the ship carrying the migrants sank on Saturday in rough seas off the southern coastal city of Al Mukha. In a statement, the ministry put the death toll at 70. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. The United Nations said that it had based its toll on local reports from the Yemeni Red Crescent as well as a military brigade operating in the area.

At least 242 migrants have died this year in Yemeni waters, a number that is higher than those of the past three years combined, according to Nick Stanton, a spokesman in Yemen for the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

Migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia have been making the journey in growing numbers over the past few years, fleeing drought, armed conflict and dismal economic conditions at home. They often face an environment just as unforgiving in Yemen, an impoverished country troubled by years of political turmoil and, in many places, armed conflict. Many of the migrants travel to Yemen hoping to reach the neighboring oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In September, the United Nations recorded more than 12,700 arrivals to Yemen by boat, the highest number in a single month since the agency started keeping records more than a decade ago, Mr. Stanton said. The spike in the number of deaths appeared to reflect the growing “ruthlessness” of traffickers who were overcrowding boats for higher profits, he said.

In October, at least 64 migrants and three crew members died in the Gulf of Aden, south of Yemen, after traveling from Somalia. Another shipwreck, in June, killed at least 62 people.

  1. Ittu Aba Farda
    | #1

    This is a human tragedy that affects many families. Such migration whether legal or illegal will continue the bedeviling every nation like Ethiopia unabated until well paying jobs in abundance in their own localities. Sky high unemployment coupled with not so good governance will continue to fuel citizens’ desire to leave for anywhere they hear there are abundant employment opportunities. This phenomenon will not subside even there is a democratic governance. In fact, it may even get worse as long as unemployment is not tackled right away which will be impossible. I will give you an example. About 3 years ago I was looking at my place of birth, a small village in Western Hararghe on the Google Map and noticed that those mud houses were almost gone. They are replaced by white dots that tell the houses are now replaced with tin roofed or even better shingled construction. So I called one of my relatives who was born at the same village and asked him how and what happened. We went over one by one by identifying them by the people who owned them when we were there. He told me that they are all rebuilt using modern material and the money was obtained by the sons and daughters who went to the Middle East or somewhere outside the country to work. They sent money needed to do that. He told me that every young male and female who is able to travel is intoxicated and resolute to get the heck out of there by all means necessary. There is not a single factory or place that anyone can call it a work place to make a living. Not one. What is readily available to make a living is the same old subsistence farming. That is even if there an extra plot to till. There is uncontrolled new child birth every where, an explosion. The two main religions are still entrenched in this misinterpreted dogma that birth control is a sin, a one way ticket to the eternal inferno. Women are still kept in bondage and utter stay-home slavery with the main list of their duty being to cook and rear. To me, one of the main reasons for our backwardness is the enslavement of our women. They have been beaten, murdered, genitally mutilated and every imaginable cruelty has been committed on them. The only way they can be emancipated is by the proliferation of industry. It will be a radically different democratic arrangement at home when the lady of the house begins bringing the dough home. She is now the bank manager at home and finally she has started getting respect. Until that happens the 90 million people now will soon be 140 million in just one or two decades. The livable land is shrinking but the population on it is exploding. This mad rush to Middle East or any direction where ever the wind brought the smell of work is going to get worse and worse. He also shared some sad news about young people from the same village who perished during their ill-fated journey to the Middle East or North Africa. We both agreed that the genie is out of the bottle and no one will be able to put it back. Very, Very sad indeed!!!

  2. Jacky Gosee
    | #2

    Diaspora money remittance is highly inticing Ethiopians to leave their country and travel to “countries where money grows on trees”.

    Diaspora money is fueling the khat chewing and drug abusing Ethiopians who finally desperately try to leave their country since they fell to make it in their own country due to their addiction.

    don’t get me wrong there are those that are sincerly get abused by the government and run for their lifebut the majority are those that run because they were to lazy to participate in the transformation vision of our great leader Meles Zenawi.

    Those that chew khat all day and don’t work or go to school within Ethiopia donot survive the new transformed Ethiopia according to the vision of Meles Zenawi,so they are forced to choose to risk their lives trying to find a place where they can be accepted.

    In a country where the 25 years old or younger accounts for nearly 3 quarters of the total population it would be hard for the up and coming Ethiopian generation to survive in this highly competitive world of milleniam generations. Knowledge is power , informartion is knowledge. In Ethiopia there is no knowledge due to lack of information freedom because the few the chosen are granted the luxury of knowledge the majority is expected to be winning . in the survival of the fittest vision competition which mostly requires the pure gene of the Tigray..

    To make matters worse More Than Half The World’s Population is Under The Age of 25.These age group are mostly into globalized information exchange except few countries like Ethiopia who are closed from international knowledge. which makes Ethiopians loose in the competition in this global economy leaving them few options to survive .

    - See more at:

  3. Yaab arag
    | #3

    Good bless ethiopia;

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