Geneva, Feb 24 (DPA) The UN’s refugee agency said Thursday that 54 Somalis had drowned while trying to flee their war-torn country for the relative safety of Yemen.
Three other people on board were smugglers and also died when the small boat capsized, the agency said. Only one person survived the accident, which occurred Sunday, swimming for 23 hours to reach Yemen’s coast.
It was the largest loss of life in the seas between Somalia and Yemen in a single incident since January 2008, the UN noted. So far, 23 bodies have been recovered.
“We are horrified by this latest tragedy that adds to the terrible suffering of the Somali people,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres. He called the Gulf of Aden “one of the deadliest routes” for Somalis seeking to flee violence and poverty.