Migrants drown as boat capsizes off Yemen coast amid reports of gunfire

At least 30 refugees and migrants drowned off the coast of war-torn Yemen after their boat capsized amid reports of g...

Posted: Jan 26, 2018 6:43 PM
Updated: Jan 26, 2018 6:43 PM

At least 30 refugees and migrants drowned off the coast of war-torn Yemen after their boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being using by traffickers, the United Nations said Friday.

The overcrowded boat, which had more than 150 Somalis and Ethiopians on board, left from near the city of Aden on Tuesday headed across the Gulf of Aden toward Djibouti, said the UN's International Organization for Migration, citing survivors.

"The vessel is believed to have been operated by unscrupulous smugglers who were attempting to take refugees and migrants to Djibouti, while also trying to extort more money from these refugees and migrants," an IOM statement said.

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

About two-thirds of the passengers were Ethiopian and a third were Somali, the IOM said. It and partner organizations have been helping survivors with food, water and medical help.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, IOM Director William Lacy Swing said the organization was "deeply troubled" by the latest report from Yemen. "As we have been saying for almost five years now, the preservation of human life is our utmost priority everywhere," he said.

According to a report this month by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, there are currently more than 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers from other countries in Yemen, traditionally a transit hub for people fleeing the Horn of Africa.

Some 5,000 more arrive by sea each month -- unaccompanied children among them -- despite Yemen's prolonged civil war and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions, the UN agency said. 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.

Some later seek to flee again, putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers.

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

"This heartbreaking tragedy underscores, yet again, just how devastating Yemen's conflict continues to be for civilians," Maalouf said.

"Amid ongoing hostilities and crushing restrictions imposed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, many people who came to Yemen to flee conflict and repression elsewhere are now being forced yet again to flee in search of safety. Some are dying in the process."

According to the United Nations, more than 5,500 civilians have been killed in Yemen since March 2015, when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in the country.

Meanwhile, nearly 2 million children are suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen, according to UNICEF, and a staggering 1 million people have been stricken by cholera.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
Copiah2854
Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
Yazoo2233
Pearl River20731
Pike20211
Adams19015
Lowndes1828
Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
Oktibbeha15010
Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
Yalobusha855
Wilkinson859
Itawamba857
Grenada823
Montgomery811
Sunflower783
Union785
Marshall763
Jefferson Davis752
Tippah7111
Tate691
Panola643
Claiborne642
Calhoun614
Webster591
Amite561
Humphreys537
Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
Prentiss413
Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
DeKalb2403
Etowah24011
Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
Clarke1282
Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
Pickens964
Dale960
Talladega963
Chilton931
Greene914
Cullman880
Limestone860
Winston770
Covington751
Jackson742
Bibb711
Henry702
Macon672
Crenshaw662
Washington656
Blount531
Escambia483
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Perry360
Conecuh351
Coosa341
Monroe342
Cherokee332
Clay272
Lamar210
Cleburne131
Fayette130
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Few Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 71°
Columbus
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 79°
Oxford
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather