57 Somalis drown crossing to Yemen

Fifty-seven Somalis drowned on Sunday, when their boat capsized off the coast of Yemen, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Migrants off the coast of Yemen

Migrants off the coast of Yemen

Fifty-four of those who died were refugees and three were smugglers.

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic says there was only one survivor who managed to swim for 23 hours before reaching the Yemen port city of Bir Ali.

He says this is the biggest loss of live in the seas between Somalia and Yemen since January 2008 when 114 people drowned.

“As of late Wednesday twenty-three bodies had been recovered. That includes six men 15 women and two children. According to the only survivor, who a 42-year-old man who had fled fighting and violence in Mogadishu together with his family that is his wife and three children, the boat was one hour off the coast of Yemen and it began taking water as it was repeatedly struck by very strong waves. Eventually it capsized. He managed to cling onto a small plastic tank and using that he managed to reach the coast.”

The refugees had boarded the boat near Bosasso in northern Somalia.

UNHCR says this incident bring to 89, the number of people who have drowned or gone missing in the waters between Somalia and Yemen this year.

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