Health Care

At least 30 Africans drown off Yemen after boat capsizes

At least 30 Africans drown off Yemen after boat capsizes”

A boat that capsized off Yemen's coast earlier this week killed at least 30 African migrants and refugees, the United Nations said on Friday, reiterating warnings of the risks involved with travelling to the war-torn country.

The UN refugee and migration agencies said in a joint statement on Friday that there were at least 152 Somalis and Ethiopians on board the overcrowded boat which departed from Aden in southern Yemen on 23 January.

"The boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers", IOM said.

At least 153 Ethiopians and Somalis were aboard the vessel as it set sail from the port of Aden in Yemen. It and partner organizations have been helping survivors with food, water and medical help.

"As we have been saying for nearly five years now, the preservation of human life is our utmost priority everywhere", IOM Director William Lacy Swing said.

"Yemen is no exception; we are deeply troubled by reports of this latest incident".

Although the migrants in this boat were heading back to sub-Saharan Africa, more than 87,000 African refugees flooded into Yemen past year despite its civil war.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war and a failing economy, leaving millions of people in starvation. While many hope simply to transit through the country, on arrival they face the threat of abduction, extortion, physical abuse and arbitrary detention, the report said.

Lynn Maalouf, director of research for the Middle East at Amnesty International, said refugees and migrants were suffering alongside Yemen's civilian population.

Millman doubted there were large numbers leaving Yemen by boat because most people who were stuck there did not have the means to get away.

Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war pitting a Saudi-led coalition backing an internationally recognized government against Iran-backed Shiite rebels since March 2015.

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