The U.N. migration agency says 46 migrants drowned, including nine women, and 16 remain missing, presumed dead after their vessel capsized in high waves while crossing the Gulf of Aden.
IOM says the migrants were trying to reach Yemen and the oil-rich Gulf Arab states to find employment there. At least 100 had crammed onto a smuggler's boat that left the port of Bossaso, Somalia, the previous day.
The agency says they were reportedly all Ethiopian.
"Survivors said the passengers, who were without lifejackets in the smuggler's boat, started panicking as high waves struck close to the shore. As the boat took on water, they were pitched headlong into the rough seas where so many succumbed," the agency said in a statement.
Over 7,000 migrants take the perilous journey every month, facing horrendous conditions and appalling treatment at the hand of people traffickers, said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM's head of operations and emergencies.
IOM staff provided medical assistance, health, food and psychosocial support to the survivors.
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