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Thirty drown in Djibouti boats tragedy

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At least 30 people are now known to have perished after Tuesday’s double boat tragedy (29 January 2019) off the coast of Djibouti.

International Organisation for Migration (IOM) staff, based in Obock, on Djibouti’s Red Sea coast, reported on Wednesday, 30 January 2019, that a total of 16 survivors have been recovered from the sea tragedy.

There are fears the death toll could climb after over 300 went missing after two boats capsized off Djibouti’s Red Sea coast.

Through noon local time (GMT+3), IOM’s team had learned that the remains of 30 victims have been recovered—three men and two women found on Tuesday and another 25 on Wednesday.

The tragedy occurred off Godoria, a locality in the Obock region of northeast Djibouti.

After being alerted by local residents, a team of gendarmerie gathered near the reported site of the tragedy discovered two survivors, one an 18-year old male survivor, who reportedly boarded one of two boats, in his case with some 130 people on board.

“This tragic event demonstrates the risks that vulnerable migrants face as they innocently search for better lives,” said IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission, Lalini Veerassamy.

“The government of Djibouti has always shown empathy and regional leadership on this critical issue. We will continue to support them to prevent such tragedies and protect migrant lives,” she said.

IOM manages a Migrant Response Centre (MCR) in Obock, where hundreds of Yemen-bound migrants are assisted each year if they choose repatriation to their countries of origin under an IOM/operated voluntary return programme.

There are currently more than 500 migrants at the MCR.

Staff membershave been helping survivors of Tuesday’s tragedy and lending support to Djibouti authorities as they continue to patrol the shoreline in search of other survivors.

According to IOM, there have been at least 199 drownings confirmed off the coast of Obock, Djibouti since 2014.

There had been a total of 71 deaths off Djibouti before Tuesday’s shipwreck, which has resulted in at least 128 new deaths, IOM said.

– APA

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