About 30 Somali refugees drown near Yemen

April 7th, 2009 - 6:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, April 7 (DPA) Eight people drowned and 22 others were missing
and presumed dead, after two boats heading from Somalia to Yemen encountered troubles at sea over the weekend, the UN said Tuesday.

One boat carrying 40 Somalis capsized and only 20 passengers made it to shore in Yemen, the UN quoted survivors as saying. In the second boat with 23 people, eight drowned and two went missing, presumed dead.

“Those who make the crossing are fleeing desperate a situation of civil war, political instability, poverty and famine in Somalia and the Horn of Africa,” William Spindler, a spokesman for UN refugee agency UNHCR, said in Geneva.

The fate of the human smugglers was unclear.

The UNHCR said 339 boats and 17,035 people arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa via this dangerous sea route this year and 74 died while another 51 have gone missing. Last year, 50,000 people were smuggled into Yemen by sea and 949 died making the trip.

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