Ethiopian migrants drown as boats sink off Yemen

About 80 African migrants are feared to have drowned off the south coast of Yemen after their boats capsized, Yemeni officials say.

3 January 2011 (BBC) The migrants, mostly from Ethiopia, were travelling in two boats which were hit by strong wind and waves, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Three Somali migrants were reportedly found alive while the coastguard were searching for any other survivors.

Hundreds of Africans drown each year, trying to reach Yemen in crowded boats.

The ministry quoted coastguards in Aden as saying the first boat went down off the coast of Taez province with 46 people on board.

All those on board had drowned apart from the three Somalis, it said.

The second boat capsized off Lahij province.

It was carrying “between 35 to 40 people, all of them Ethiopians and among them women and children,” said the report.

It was not clear from the report when the incidents took place, but it said a search was being carried out “in hope of finding survivors”.

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