2014, deadliest year at sea off Yemen

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Exhausted new arrivals recover on a beach after crossing the ocean to southern Yemen. Photo: SHS/A.S. Hussein/UNHCR

More people have died at sea trying to get to Yemen this year than in the past three years, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The agency says that smugglers' boats that carry the migrants and asylum seekers, mainly from the Horn of Africa, are overcrowded.

Smugglers have reportedly thrown passengers overboard to prevent capsizing or to avoid detection.

UNHCR Spokesperson William Spindler says smugglers, who reportedly mistreat, abuse and rape the passengers seem to account for the increase in deaths at sea.

"There's been a sharp increase this year in the number of migrants and asylum seekers losing their lives in attempts to get to Yemen, mainly from the Horn of Africa, with more deaths in 2014 than in the last three years combined. In the latest tragic incident on Oct 2, 64 migrants and three crew died when their vessel, sailing from Somalia, sank in the Gulf of Aden. With five additional deaths since, this brings the number of dead this year to 215, exceeding the combined total for 2011, 2012 and 2013." (29")

UNHCR also says that there were more than 12,700 people who arrived in Yemen in September making it the single biggest month for arrivals since records began in 2002.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1’22″

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