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Record high of African arrivals

Somali refugees outside camps live in squalid conditions. Very often more than one family live in one small house as most of them cannot afford to pay much rent
Somali refugees shown living in squalid and crowded conditions. (Muhammed al-Jabri/IRIN)

The past 10 months saw the highest number of Africans reaching Yemeni shores over figures for the same period in 2008 and 2007, when large numbers began travelling to Yemen by boat, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).



More than 56,600 people arrived on 1,100 boats to Yemen from the Horn of Africa so far this year, already exceeding the total for all 2008, when 50,091 people crossed, Rocco Nuri, an external relations officer at UNHCR, told IRIN on 31 October.



“This is a stunning 40 percent increase in comparison with the same 10-month period last year when 40,540 boat-carried people arrived… [This year], 281 people drowned and another 152 have been missing and presumed dead after their boats capsized in the Gulf of Aden," Nuri said.



Santiago Perez, country representative for NGO the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), said there were several factors causing this growing influx of Africans to Yemen. "We’re detecting an increasing number of displaced people who say they are coming to Yemen fleeing climate disasters like drought, untimely and torrential rains, as well as conflict and poverty," he said.



He added that rapid population growth in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, was also "responsible for the phenomenon”.












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The fishermen are asking for help to get rid of illegal ships.
UNHCR/K.McKinsey
[Yemen] Small fishing boats, like this one in Bossaso'o busy commercial port, carry up to 125 people when used to smuggle migrants from the Somali coast across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Smugglers charge $30 to $50 and sometimes throw their passengers out...
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Not for reuse
[Yemen] Small fishing boats, like this one in Bossaso'o busy commercial port, carry up to 125 people when used to smuggle migrants from the Somali coast across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Smugglers charge $30 to $50 and sometimes throw their passengers out...
This is a private file—do not show on the public facing site.


Photo: UNHCR/K.McKinsey
Small fishing boats such as this one carry up to 125 people when used to smuggle migrants from the Somali coast across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen

Because of this greater demand for the trip across the Gulf of Aden, smugglers have doubled their fees. "The money paid for smuggling by boat has jumped from US$50 to $100 per person these days," Ahmad Akam, a Yemeni coast guard official, said.



The total number of new arrivals by the end of this year is likely to hit 70,000 as sea conditions are becoming milder, according to Akam.



Response



UN agencies in Yemen and their implementing partners have developed contingency plans to provide assistance to 20,000 extra arrivals - on top of the 50,000 already planned for in 2009.



"UNHCR has improved the capacity and conditions of its reception centres in Mayfaa and Ahwar, on Yemen's southern coastline, and established a presence through its implementing partners in Bab al-Mandab on the Red Sea," Nuri said.



He added that in order to provide a dignified burial for those who do not survive the boat journey - due to rough sea conditions, drowning and mistreatment by smugglers – UNHCR had secured three cemetery plots in Hadhramout, Shabwa and Abyan governorates to bury bodies washed ashore.



A September report by UNHCR said there were 162,362 registered refugees in Yemen, 153,080 of whom were Somalis.



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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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