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At least 18 dead in latest smuggling tragedy off Yemeni coast – UN

At least 18 dead in latest smuggling tragedy off Yemeni coast – UN

Bossasso Beach in Somalia's northeast Puntland region is the departure point for smuggler's boats heading for Yemen
Eighteen people drowned and another 29 are missing and presumed dead after the smuggling boat they were travelling in capsized amid rough weather this week off the coast of Yemen, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the boat, reportedly carrying 88 people, left from the Somali village of Marera on 11 June. It capsized after taking on water while still far from Bourum, some 500 kilometres east of Aden along the coast of Yemen.

UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva today that 18 bodies were recovered by the Society for Humanitarian Solidarity (SHS), the agency’s local partner.

“More bodies are expected to be washed ashore as the likelihood of finding others alive dims due to seasonal high waves throughout the Gulf of Aden from June to September,” he said.

Some 24 African nationals made it to the shore on Monday aboard a light rowing boat which was towed behind a bigger boat, added Mr. Redmond.

The SHS, which provided the arrivals with food and water as well as transportation to Mayfa’a for further assistance and registration, continued patrolling some 100 kilometres of shoreline between Bourom and Bir Ali for three days in search of survivors.

Four survivors were found ashore in the vicinity of Bourom, and two others were found alive on the outskirts of Mukalla, some 600 kilometres east of Aden. “The latter said they had walked towards Mukalla along with another 11 Somali survivors, who have not been traced so far,” Mr. Redmond said.

According to UNHCR, more than 522 boats and 25,764 people have arrived in Yemen so far this year after making the dangerous journey across the Gulf of Aden from the Horn of Africa. To date, 146 people have reportedly drowned and 85 are missing at sea.