Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Yemen: African migrants thrown into the sea

A boat full of migrants A boat full of migrants
Lillian Steele | 11 August, 2017, 00:41

According to IOM figures, 55,000 African asylum seekers have travelled from Somalia to Yemen since the start of this year.

Only five bodies have been recovered from Thursday's incident, with 50 reported missing, presumed dead.

Despite the conflict, migrants still seek transit through Yemen, often towards its land border with Saudi Arabia.

The UN estimates that Yemen -where a cholera epidemic has already been more than 1,900 deaths- is the scene of "the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world". This spring, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared the drought a national disaster. Migrants, a lot of them Ethiopians, try to make their way to oil-rich Gulf countries in hopes of finding jobs. We see it on other routes as well. The suffering of migrants on this migration route is enormous.

More than 111,500 migrants landed on Yemen's shores last year, up from about 100,000 the year before, according to the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat, a grouping of global agencies that monitors migration in the area.

The average age of passengers on the boat was 16, it added.

According to survivors' testimonies, the smuggler pushed them to the sea after he saw men he perceived as "authority types". Those who died were buried by the survivors who made it to Yemen.

People who survived the traumatic ordeal reported to authorities that human smugglers forced them into the sea just before reaching Yemen's shores.

At least 22 migrants are still missing. More than 30,000 of those were under 18. "Smugglers are active in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, offering fake promises to vulnerable migrants".

Why is war-torn Yemen part of the refugee or migrant route?

But most get caught in the conflict before reaching the promises of jobs in the Gulf, Headon says.

In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 14, 2014 by World Press Photo, the World Press Photo of the Year 2013 by John Stanmeyer, USA, VII for National Geographic, shows African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an cheap signal from neighboring Somalia in Djibouti City, Djibouti, Feb. 26, 2013.

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