More survivors, remains of deceased African migrants found on Yemen beach, says UN agency

15 August 2017

Over the past three days, the UN migration agency has found more survivors and victims' remains from last week's tragedy – when hundreds of migrants were forced from two boats into the sea off the coast of Yemen.

Last week, 280 migrants heading toward Gulf countries were removed from two boats off the coast of Yemen's Shabwa Governorate. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) found, from the first incident on 9 August, the remains of 29 people – 12 Ethiopian men, 12 Ethiopian women and five Somali men.

“The number of people still missing has reduced from 22 to six, all of whom are Ethiopian males,” IOM said in a press statement.

Through contact or from other survivors' reports, IOM was able to account for a majority of the missing.

“This makes 35 people presumed dead from the first incident,” the statement added.

IOM provided urgent medical care, as well as food and water, to 27 survivors – 22 Ethiopian and five Somali men. While 85 people survived this incident, many others left the beach before IOM arrived to assist.

On Thursday, 10 August, another 160 people were forced from a second boat, again off the coast of Yemen, but in a different location from the first tragedy and closer to the shore.

That same day IOM found six bodies on the beach.

“IOM assisted 57 survivors on 10 August. Thirteen of the survivors, whom IOM had helped, returned to the beach the following day realizing that they were too weak to make the trek through the desert to Yemen's land borders,” the statement continued.

On 11 August, IOM and local people found another four and on 12 August, another two. The current total number of confirmed dead from the second incident is 12 – eight Ethiopian males and four Ethiopian females.

“In the immediate aftermath of the smugglers' actions during the second incident, 13 people were missing. Only six people remain missing and so, 18 are now presumed dead,” continued the statement.

On 13 August, IOM located five more survivors and assisted them with medical support, food and water. In total, IOM aided 65 people who survived the second incident – 62 Ethiopian males and three Ethiopian females. Some 142 people survived the second incident and, as on the previous day, people left the beach before IOM arrived.

Of the 280 people forced into Yemen's rough seas on both mornings, 226 survived, 41 were confirmed dead and 12 remain missing, according to IOM.

The total number of presumed dead is currently 53.

Due to the security situation in the country, the migration routes through Yemen are constantly changing.

The surviving Ethiopian and Somali migrants left IOM's care and are most likely making their way to Yemen's borders with the Gulf countries – a journey which takes a week or more depending on the route.

“IOM will continue to patrol Yemen's beaches to provide assistance to migrants in distress and to search for the migrants still missing,” concluded the statement of the UN migration agency.


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