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    African migrants sit outside tents at a makeshift shelter on June 19, 2014, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa

    Over 92,000 Migrants Arrive in Yemen by Sea in 2015 Despite Conflict

    © AFP 2019 / MOHAMMED HUWAIS
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    Almost 90 percent of the migrants came to Yemen from neighboring Ethiopia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — Over 92,000 migrants have arrived in Yemen throughout 2015 despite the ongoing conflict in the country, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Tuesday.

    "Latest data on sea arrivals in Yemen shows that despite the ongoing conflict some 92,446 people arrived by boat there in 2015. This is one of the highest annual totals of the past decade. A full two thirds arrived since March 2015 when the conflict began," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards said in briefing notes published on the agency's website.

    Almost 90 percent of the migrants came from neighboring Ethiopia, the spokesman said, adding that only 2011 and 2012 saw higher refugee numbers arriving in Yemen.

    With most arrivals taking place across the Arabian Sea, and with some 95 reported migrant deaths in 2015, the UN refugee agency warned potential migrant deaths during the dangerous crossings in overcrowded and unseaworthy boats. Migrant routes into Yemen have moved away from the Red Sea, the spokesman said. The country's conflict, centered on the Taizz governorate on the Red Sea coast, may have been the chief reason for the change, he added.

    While Yemen's conflict has not deterred migrants from crossing into the country, there have been reports of migrants facing movement restrictions, becoming caught up in fighting and killed, according to the briefing note. Reasons for the ongoing migration regardless of the dangers include misinformation about the conflict's intensity and of the dangers of crossing, the UNHCR said.

    Since early 2015, Yemen has been locked in a military conflict between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. The coalition has been bombing Houthi positions in Yemen at the request of the country's president since last March. Yemen itself is suffering from a massive internal refugee problem, with over 2.5 million internally displaced and 168,000 having fled abroad, according to UN figures.

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    refugees, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Ethiopia, Yemen
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