Highlighting the risks of trying to cross the Gulf of Aden, the United Nations refugee agency on Tuesday said that eight Somali refugees were killed while boarding a smugglers’ boat on southern Yemen’s coast last week.
A woman died when the boat’s propeller gashed her in the head after she fell overboard and seven men drowned in the accident at Al-Sudaf in Lahj governorate, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.
According to UNHCR, the tragedy occurred when the people-smuggling boat suddenly started its engine and tried to flee from an approaching Yemeni coastguard vessel.
Yemeni coastguard intercepted the boat, which was reportedly heading to the Sudanese coast with over 100 Somali refugees on board, UNHCR said.
UNHCR launched a multi-lingual information campaign on Tuesday to raise awareness of the dangers of crossing the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea from Africa to war-wracked Yemen — a route taken by more than 117,000 refugees and migrants last year.
Some 7,100 people have been killed, 44,000 injured, and more than two million displaced in Yemen since and almost 19 million people in the impoverished country require humanitarian assistance.