Record number of African migrants and refugees arrive in Yemen

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Somali refugees

More refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa have arrived in Yemen this year than during the same period last year, according to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).

UNHCR says three out of four people who board rickety boats on the beaches near the port towns of Obock in Djibouti or Bossasso in Somalia are Ethiopians.

The refugees, the agency adds, face what it describes as "shocking levels" of abuse and violence by smugglers, as well as arbitrary arrests and detention, closed borders, and returns and trafficking.

UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic says those who ultimately make it to Yemen often arrive exhausted, dehydrated, malnourished and in a state of shock.

"More than 43,000 people reached Yemen's shores in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in the first four months alone. During the same period last year almost 30,000 people made the same perilous journey. In total, more than 103,000 people from the Horn of Africa arrived in Yemen in 2011 which was basically a record year since UNHCR began compiling these statistics in 2006. Should the current trend continue, 2012 would sadly become another record year."

(Duration: 27")

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