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Desperate for Work, African Migrants Die Crossing the ‘Gate of Grief’

According to the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), on April 22, a shipwreck off the coast of Djibouti resulted in the confirmed deaths of 24 migrants, with another 20 missing and presumed dead. Earlier in April a similar incident occurred, resulting in the deaths of 38 migrants. In both cases, migrants from countries in the Horn of Africa were returning home from Yemen, where they had been stranded, attempting to make the perilous journey to find work in the rich Gulf states.

Based on IOM statistics, each year thousands of East Africans, predominantly from Ethiopia and Somalia, subjected to destitution in their own countries, risk their lives seeking employment in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., and other Gulf States. To get there, they must cross the Gulf of Aden (known as the Eastern Route), with most crossings attempted at the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb or the “Gate of Grief.” Approximately 16 miles wide, it separates Djibouti and Yemen. Given the current conditions of strife within Yemen, migrants are often inhibited from completing the journey and forced to travel back to their countries of origin.

Since 2014, the IOM estimates that over 380,000 migrants have attempted this crossing, with at least 1,350 recorded deaths—over half of them (698) just in 2023. However, the actual number is believed to be significantly higher. Since 2022, another 1,267 migrants died due to violence attempting to cross the border from Yemen into Saudi Arabia.

The solution to this carnage is presented in a Schiller Institute special report, titled, “Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa,” authored by Jason Ross, science adviser of the Schiller Institute, and EIR Southwest Asia Desk chair Hussein Askary. The foundation of the report is 50 years of development proposals for Africa and Asia by the late, renowned physical economist, Lyndon LaRouche, and his associates, over a period of more than 50 years. This includes the Oasis Plan, first proposed by LaRouche in 1975, for development of the entire Southwest Asia region.