[QODLink]
Middle East

Scores of migrants drown off Yemeni coast

At least 60 migrants drowned while trying to reach Yemen by boat, in what UN calls the worst such tragedy this year.

Last updated: 06 Jun 2014 17:31
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

At least 60 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia along with two Yemeni crew members drowned on May 31 in the worst such tragedy off the coast of Yemen this year, the UN has said.

"The tragedy is the largest single loss of life of migrants and refugees attempting to reach Yemen via the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden this year," Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the refugee agency UNHCR, said on Friday.

The UN agency said it was still seeking information about the tragedy, but had confirmed that the boat sank last Saturday.

"The victims were reportedly buried by local residents after their bodies washed ashore near the Bab El Mandeb area off Yemen's coast," Edwards said, adding that the UNHCR did not know where the boat began it journey.

The agency said they were working on measures to prevent the loss of life at sea and called on governments in the region to strengthen their search-and-rescue capacities.

RELATED: Ethiopian migrants allege torture in Yemen

The AFP news agency reported that bad weather conditions off Dhubab, at the entrance to the Bab El Mandeb waterway between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, had caused the accident.

The UNHCR pointed out that at least 121 people have died so far this year trying to reach Yemen.

The agency said it had documented the arrival of 16,500 refugees and migrants on the Yemeni coast during the first four months of 2014 alone. At least 35,000 people had arrived in Yemen during the same period last year.

Yemen is mainly used as a transit country, with African migrants often aiming to move on to neighbouring oil-rich Gulf nations to find work.

Yemen is believed to have taken in up to two million refugees, mostly undocumented migrants, according to AFP.  

 

On Friday, a Tunisian official said the coast guard had intercepted a boat off Zarzis, in southern Tunisia, loaded with more than 200 migrants who left from Libya hoping to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

 

The migrants, including 104 Nigerians, 23 Senegalese and 16 Tunisians, were taken to Zarzis port on Thursday, Mongi Slim of the Tunisian Red Crescent told AFP.

377

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.