YEMEN Press Agency

Hundreds of bodies of African migrants are floating at sea off Yemeni coasts for days

SANAA, Jun. 16 (YPA) – More than 360 bodies of illegal immigrants are still floating in the sea off the Yemeni coast, for the sixth day in a row.

Members of the Ethiopian community in Yemen said on Wednesday that about 371 illegal immigrants died drowned when their boat sank near the coast of ‘Ras al-Ara’ area in Lahj province last Friday.

Sources reported that the bodies were seen floating at a distance of 10 to 20 nautical miles from the shore of the Ras Al-Ara area, in which dozens of illegal immigrants arrive daily.

The Ethiopian community members appealed to the competent authorities and international organizations to retrieve the bodies of the drowned, confirming that the Yemeni Coast Guard buried two of the five bodies that were recovered, while hundreds of bodies are still at sea.

Meanwhile, navigational sources in the Ras al-Ara area warned of an epidemic catastrophe due to the decomposition of hundreds of corpses without proper recovery and burial.

The recent years have witnessed an increase in the smuggling of African migrants, especially Ethiopians and Somalis, due to the deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions in their countries.

More than 150,000 migrants arrived in Yemen until 2018, an increase of 50% from 2017, while 107,000 migrants arrived last year, according to the statistics of the International Organization for Migration.