Friday, August 26, 2011

Yemen Hosts Growing Number of Somali Refugees

August 26th, 2011

The United Nations refugee agency says some 3,700 Somali refugees have arrived in Yemen in August to seek refuge from the Horn of Africa drought, and more are expected in the coming months.

U.N. Spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters Friday that the number of refugees crossing the Gulf of Aden in rickety boats is rising as Somalis flee famine, instability, and unemployment in their own country.

He said August has seen the highest monthly rate arriving in Yemen this year. Edwards said it marks an early start to the normal peak season for smugglers' boats arriving from the northern Somalia coastal town of Bossaso.

He also said aid workers believe many more refugees who have fled their homes are waiting in Bossaso for calmer seas before making the journey to Yemen. He said it is a testament to the refugees' desperation that they choose to flee to another nation that is affected by “serious unrest.”

Yemen hosts the second-largest Somali refugee population in the region, numbering some 192,000. Some 15,000 have arrived in Yemen since January.

Kenya, the largest host country, shelters nearly 498,000 Somali refugees.

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