World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Refugee Smugglers Claim More Lives In Gulf Of Aden

As Refugee Smugglers Claim More Lives In Gulf Of Aden, UN
Seeks Urgent Action

New York, Feb 28 2006 11:00AM

In the latest grim episode of asylum seekers and migrants dying while trying to cross the Gulf of Aden from Somalia to Yemen, the United Nations refugee agency reported today that smugglers forced 137 men, women and children into deep waters off the Yemeni coast, killing at least 33, with another 30 missing.

“The latest tragic incident once again highlights the urgent need for joint international and local efforts to address this problem and minimize the flow of desperate people who fall victim to ruthless smugglers,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva.

Thousands of Somalis, many fleeing violence in their homeland, arrive in Yemen every year, averaging an estimated 100 people a day during the annual September to March period of good sailing conditions, after making the perilous crossing in the hands of smugglers who often beat them or force them overboard while still far from shore, sometimes with their hands tied behind their backs, leaving them to the mercy of the seas.

On Saturday, the UNHCR office in Aden, Yemen, received information that a smuggler's boat sailing from Somalia had forced all of its 137 passengers - 134 Somalis and three Ethiopians - into deep waters, before turning around and heading back to Somalia.

By Monday evening, 84 people had managed to reach shore safely, while 33 had been found dead on the Al Hodeiya shore on the southern coast. Another 30 passengers including children are still missing and we fear their chances of survival are now extremely slim,” Ms. Pagonis said. “Our team in Aden is taking care of the survivors, giving them medical care, food and non-food items.”

Despite the hazards, smugglers still find ready customers. From 12-17 January alone, 22 boats carrying an unknown number of Somalis and Ethiopians arrived in Yemen. Of those, UNHCR registered 1,217 Somalis and 39 Ethiopians. On 16 January, a boat carrying 65 people and six dead bodies arrived in Yemen. Another 14 people had reportedly died during the voyage.

UNHCR has been working with the authorities in Puntland, in north-eastern Somalia to inform people about the dangers of using smugglers. In January it produced a video to raise awareness among Somalis and Ethiopians of the risks involved and is now working on a radio programme in local languages to reach more people.

“At the same time, we are also calling on donors to support the international community in its efforts to improve protection and assistance to internally displaced persons in Puntland who live in very difficult circumstances,” Ms. Pagonis said in the latest of a series of appeals the agency has issued over recent months. “Without addressing the root causes of the outflow, progress in stemming the smuggling will be extremely limited."

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ban Condemns Killing Of Former Lesotho Military Commander

United Nations Secretary-General today condemned the killing of Lt. Gen. Maaparankoe Mahao, former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, on 25 June, near Maseru. More>>

Ban Welcomes US Supreme Court Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage

Ban welcomes US Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing right to same-sex marriage Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) pride march. Photo: OHCHR/Joseph Smida More>>

UN Agency Welcomes EU Measures On Refugee Arrivals

Afghan refugees in front of the abandoned hotel Captain Elias on Kos Island, Greece, where hundreds of refugees and migrants are waiting for their registration. Photo: UNHCR/J. Akkash More>>

Increase In Voluntary Blood Donors Can Save Millions Of Lives

Increase in voluntary blood donors can save millions of lives, UN health agency says on World Day More>>

Kenya: Funding Shortage Means Food Cut To 500,000 Refugees

Funding shortage forces UN agency to temporarily cut food aid to 500,000 refugees in Kenya More>>

UN Launches Education Appeal In Fight Against Child Labour

12 June 2015 – The United Nations has announced it is marking the 2015 edition of the World Day Against Child Labour with a call for the international community to invest in quality education as a key step in the fight against child employment ... More>>

Pope Francis & UN Agency On Sustainability Of Agriculture

Pope Francis (centre) with delegates to the 39th FAO Conference during a special audience at the Vatican. Photo: FAO More>>

South Sudan: Call For De-Escalation Of In-Country Conflict

Women and children have suffered devastating attacks in South Sudan’s Unity State. Photo: UNICEF/South Sudan/Sebastian Rich More>>

Burundi: Emergency Support To Refugees Fleeing Burundi Crisis

Burundians fleeing pre-election violence rest on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Democratic Republic of Congo after a gruelling 22-hour boat journey. More than 100,000 Burundians have fled over the past month, arriving in Tanzania, Rwanda and ... More>>

Afghanistan: Commitment To Advancing Women's Rights

While the outgoing senior United Nations rights official in Afghanistan said she expected the human rights advances made “will be sustained, will not be rolled back, and will not be sacrificed,” she lamented the high level of violence against ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news