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|Over 50,000 Somalis arrive in Yemen in 2008|
Article Date: January 12, 2009
More than 50,091 Somali refugees came to Yemen last year fleeing deteriorating humanitarian situation and civil conflict in Somalia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR said.
Yemen was the last resort of these Somali refugees where they always reached through sea.
However, of these displaced Somalis almost 590 drowned and 359 others were missing, a spokesman for the UNHCR said in a statement.
The number of Somali refugees coming in Yemen increased during 2008 by 70%, up from 29,500 Somali displaced people who arrived in the country during 2007, the spokesman said.
But death rates were higher in 2007, with almost 1,400 Somalis killed.
Many refugees die either as boats capsize or drowning as they are mostly forced by smugglers to overboard at night to swim to Yemen's coasts.
Despite reports that some dead refugees were beaten to death by smugglers, many of those who died drowned, the spokesman said.
Human smugglers force Somali refugees to swim to reach Yemen's coasts in fear these smugglers could be hunted by coastguards.
Somali refugees arrive in Yemen almost daily.
Last figures suggest that the number of Somali refugees who have already arrived in Yemen since 1991, has reached 1 million.This high number lays more burdens on the country's fragile economy and establishes an issue concerned by the Yemeni government.