Africa

Yemen migrant boat sinking is 'worst this year' - UN

  • 6 June 2014
  • From the section Africa
Migrants waiting to board a boat to Yemen in Djibouti Image copyright AFP
Image caption Thousands make the dangerous journey every year

The UN's refugee agency reports that 62 people have died off Yemen's coast, in what it describes as the worst sinking incident in the region this year.

Sixty migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia and two Yemeni crew members drowned in the accident last weekend, the UNHCR said on Friday.

Every year thousands of Africans make the journey to Yemen in crowded boats.

Yemen is seen as a gateway to the Middle East or Europe but hundreds have died on the journey.

"The victims were reportedly buried by local residents after their bodies washed ashore near the Bab El Mandeb area off Yemen's coast," the UNHCR said in a statement.

The incident brings the number of people who have been killed trying to make this particular crossing this year to 121, the agency said.

Many thousands have fled the Horn of Africa in recent years to escape poverty and war.

The route to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea is also heavily used by migrants fleeing the Horn of Africa and, increasingly, refugees from the war in Syria.

From January to April, 42,000 migrants were detected on Mediterranean routes, with 25,650 of these crossing from Libya.