Djibouti (Web Desk): The death toll has risen to 38 after two migrant boats sank in heavy seas off the coast of Djibouti, said the UN migration agency.
Search and rescue teams met with grim scenes of bodies strewn across the beach at Obock, a port town down the coast from Godaria where the vessels had set sail on the Horn of Africa nation’s northeast coast.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the boats capsized half an hour into their voyage.
The IOM’s chief of mission in Djibouti Lalini Veerassamy said that the death toll had reached 38 on Wednesday.
Painful pictures of dead migrants on #Djibouti's shore who perished after a smugglers boats carrying over 130 #migrants capsized including children. 43 confirmed dead so far.https://t.co/MazuD0Iqq1 pic.twitter.com/SV27iySpxj— Mohammed Abdiker (@AbdikerM) January 30, 2019
“This tragic event demonstrates the risks that vulnerable migrants face as they innocently search for better lives,” she said in a statement.
Sixteen people were rescued following the sinkings, with one survivor telling Djiboutian authorities there were 130 people on his boat.
The number of passengers on the second vessel remains unclear, as do the nationalities of those aboard. The coastguard is still conducting search and rescue operations with patrol boats.