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UN's Migration Agency Says Migrants Were Pushed From Boats

12 August 2017, 10:33 | Darnell Patrick

A woman watches as migrants scatter from a rubber dingy beached on the coast at Cadiz southern Spain

A woman watches as migrants scatter from a rubber dingy beached on the coast at Cadiz southern Spain

Mr Dujarric said the situation for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert are "just as heartbreaking" as the tragedy unfolding off Yemen.

Five bodies have been recovered while around 50 people were missing after the incident on Thursday, the International Organisation for Migration reported.

UN Secretary-General Antonio has said he was "heartbroken" after smugglers pushed mostly African migrants off boats heading for Yemen twice in two days.

Some 180 Ethiopian and Somali are forced into rough seas off Yemen by smugglers, with 55 of them are presumed to have drowned, the United Nations migration agency says.

IOM staffers provided aid for 27 surviving migrants who remained on the beach, while other migrants left.

Smugglers were reportedly pushing migrants into the sea away from the mainland so as to avoid encountering possibly armed groups on shore in the war-torn country - they were then going back to pick up more migrants. "Countries experiencing conflict or crisis like Yemen need greater support to reinforce law enforcement and humanitarian border management with the aim of protecting vulnerable migrants like these 16 year old kids", he said.

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"They were shocked, exhausted and quite desperate", Laurent de Boeck, the IOM Yemen Chief of Mission, told Reuters in an interview in Brussels. Migrants, majority Ethiopians, try to make their way to oil-rich Gulf countries in hopes of finding jobs. Most of the people on the boat were from Ethiopia and Somalia.

It says the journey is particularly risky at this time of year due to high winds in the Indian Ocean.

In both cases, most migrants were from Ethiopia and Somalia, the IOM said. A third of them are estimated to be women.

"They have forgotten us a little bit", Mr de Boeck said. In March, Somalia's government blamed the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen for an attack on a boat that killed at least 42 Somali refugees off Yemen's coast.

Migrant arrivals in Spain have tripled compared to this time past year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.



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