Thirty bodies have been found after some 130 migrants went missing off Djibouti when two boats capsized in rough waters, the United Nations migration agency said yesterday.

Sixteen survivors were recovered, and the tiny East African nation’s coast guard continued a search and rescue operation after Tuesday’s accident, the U.N. said in a statement. Witnesses said large waves caused the overloaded boats to tip over about a half-hour after departing.

An 18-year-old survivor told the migration agency he had boarded one of the boats with another 130 people, including 16 women. There were no immediate details on the second boat, Reuters reported as at press time.

Meanwhile, a UN report said yesterday that an average of six migrants died crossing the Mediterranean every day last year. Italy had earlier highlighted the lower overall number of deaths last year, due to fewer people making the crossing.

But the rate of deaths from Libya rose to one for every 14 arrivals in 2018, from one in 38 the year before. The report came as seven European countries agreed to end a row over 47 rescued migrants, stranded on a humanitarian boat for 12 days.

Sea Watch, a German humanitarian organisation, had taken Italy to the European Court of Human Rights after it pulled the migrants from the Mediterranean near Libya on 19 January. Thousands of migrants from the turbulent Horn of Africa region set off every year from Djibouti to cross the Bab al-Mandab Strait for the Arabian Peninsula with hopes of finding work in rich Gulf countries. Sun

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