The United Nations says more than 60 people died in a boat sinking off Yemen's coast last weekend.The victims, consisting of 60 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia and two Yemeni crew members, lost their lives in the Red Sea last Saturday, said UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Adrian Edwards at a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva.
"We are still seeking information, but it is now confirmed that a boat carrying 60 people from Somalia and Ethiopia and two Yemeni crew sank last Saturday in the Red Sea," Edwards said."The tragedy is the largest single loss of life of migrants and refugees attempting to reach Yemen via the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden this year," the UNHCR spokesman noted, adding, "The victims were reportedly buried by local residents after their bodies washed ashore near the Bab El Mandeb area off Yemen's coast."
Edwards also said that the UNHCR did not have any idea where the boat started its journey.
A Yemeni employee of the UNHCR said in the capital Sana’a that bad weather conditions led to the tragedy off Dhubab, at the entrance to the Bab El Mandeb waterway between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
"Most of the victims are of Ethiopian nationality," he said.
According to the UNHCR, at least 121 people have lost their lives so far this year as they were trying to reach Yemen.
The agency said there were 16,500 arrivals of refugees on the Yemeni coast during the first four months of 2014.
African migrants often aim to reach oil-rich Persian Gulf countries and use Yemen as a transit country.