Marooned Africans face worsening plight on Yemen border

3rd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

About 30 African migrants died in recent weeks on the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border where conditions for 2,000 stranded people are worsening, the International Organisation for Migration said Friday.

"In all 30 migrants have died in recent weeks," due to illness or violence, IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya said.

Most of the about 2,000 Africans stranded at the border have fled Somalia, Ethiopia or Sudan. They are attempting to enter Saudi Arabia, with about 76 people arriving every day.

Nearly two-thirds of those arriving were being turned back by the Saudis and were marooned around the border town of Haradh without money, food and water, and with little more than the clothes they were wearing, Pandya said.

The agency has provided assistance to 1,031 of them, the IOM said.

The latest death occurred on Tuesday. Aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) was treating up to 25 of the refugees a day for malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid or malnutrition, the IOM said.

"The situation is worsening at the border and highlights the fact that they arrive in Haradh after a very long journey across the Horn of Africa," Pandya told journalists.

The UN refugee agency warned 10 days ago of an "alarming escalation" in fighting in the tense border area between Shiite Huthi rebels and pro-government tribes despite a nine-month ceasefire.

The rebels had also clashed heavily with Saudi forces.

© 2010 AFP

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