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30 bodies of migrants found after boats overturned from Djibouti

Thirty bodies were found after about 130 migrants went missing from Djibouti when two boats overturned in turbulent waters, the US migration agency reported on Wednesday.

Sixteen survivors were found, and the coastal guard of the tiny East African nation continued its search and rescue operation after the accident on Tuesday, a US statement said. Witnesses said that the big waves caused the overloaded boats to overturn about half an hour after departure.

The 18-year-old survivor told the migration agency that he boarded one of the boats with another 130 people, including 16 women. There were no details on the second boat.

Every year, thousands of migrants from the troubled Horn of Africa region leave from Djibouti to cross the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Arabian Peninsula in hopes of finding work in the rich countries of the Persian Gulf.

The migration agency reports that the overwhelming majority of migrants are Ethiopians, young and male.

Crossing is dangerous because in some cases, smugglers throw migrants overboard before reaching their destination. Other boats were fired upon when they were approaching Yemen, where the struggle between pro-government forces supported by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the Huty rebels continued.

“This tragic event demonstrates the risks that vulnerable migrants face when they innocently seek a better life,” said the head of the mission of the migration agency in Djibouti, Lalini Virassi.

The agency's Missing Migrants Project reports that at least 199 people have drowned off the coast of Djibouti near Obock, where the last rollover occurred since 2014.

According to the project, more than 700 people died farther from the coast on the way from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

The route also sees a stream of migrants from Yemen towards the Horn of Africa when people are fleeing war.

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