Yemen migrant boat carrying Ethiopians sinks killing 70

Migrants waiting to board a boat to Yemen in Djibouti Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tens of thousands make the dangerous journey every year

A boat carrying African migrants has sunk off Yemen's western coast, killing 70 people, Yemeni officials say.

The boat, carrying mostly Ethiopian migrants, sank off Yemen's al-Makha port due to strong winds and rough waves, security officials said.

Tens of thousands attempt to cross the Red Sea into Yemen every year, often in rickety, overcrowded vessels. Hundreds have died making the journey.

Yemen is viewed by many migrants as a gateway to the Middle East or Europe.

The latest sinking occurred on Saturday, with reports of the incident emerging on Sunday.

The Red Sea crossing between the Horn of Africa and Yemen is one of the world's major migration routes, BBC Arab affairs editor Alan Johnston says.

Migrants dream of finding jobs and better lives in rich places like Saudi Arabia - but they are in the hands of unscrupulous people smugglers and, too often, never reach the Yemeni shore, our correspondent adds.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many travel to Yemen in hope of finding better lives in the Middle East or Europe

In October, the UN refugee agency said that more than 200 people had died at sea in 2014 while attempting to reach Yemen.

"There have been frequent reports of mistreatment, abuse, rape and torture, and the increasingly cruel measures being adopted by smuggling rings seem to account for the increase in deaths at sea," the UN said at the time.

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