What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New wave of Somali refugees on the way to Yemen

The MStFB Spillover Monitor Report Series No. 2
This year only, some 264 people have died trying to make their way to Yemen from Somalia, across the Gulf of Aden, with the help of smugglers who will usually get rid of them without hesitation if their boats are being intercepted by naval vessels. Such an incident took place on Thursday, March 22, AP reports. Smugglers forced hundreds of Somali refugees into stormy seas and some 31 of them are believed dead now.

According to UNHCR data cited by AP, there are 88,000 registered refugees in Yemen, 84,000 of them from Somalia. Since the beginning of last year there was a significant spike in the number of new arrivals. Since January, 2006, about 30,000 new refugees arrived to Yemeni shores from 'either Ethiopia or Somalia' (apparently not all of the 30,000 came from Somalia, accordingly). There's no telling exactly how many Somalis died in the process of trying to make it to Yemen altogether up to this day, but for the period since January, 2006, numbers stand at 500 confirmed dead and 300 believed dead or missing. Between March 22 and March 24 alone, this year, at least some 1020 people set on the way to Yemen (31 of them died in and 69 are missing from the incident on March 22). That is the total number you get if you add up the numbers in the AP report.

Beside this enormous human tragedy the incident may draw our attention to the fact that while the topic of refugees pouring out of Africa seems to be more and more securitised in the Western world, most refugees in the world are still taken in by countries neighbouring on the source country, in other words by other 'developing' countries. By the different scale of the problem as well as out of the lack of resources to match it, these countries are generally hurt a lot more and are destabilised more likely by waves of refugees arriving at their borders.

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