Fire in Yemen Migrant Detention Center Kills 8 and Injures 170

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At least eight people, mainly of Ethiopian origin, died in a fire in detention center for migrants in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, on Sunday.

There were more than 350 migrants in a hanger near the main building of the center at the time the blaze broke out and at least 170 of them were injured, with many still in critical condition, the International Organization for Migration said in an emailed statement.

“While the cause of the fire is still unconfirmed, its impact is clearly horrific,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

The majority of those held in the immigration holding facility “were Ethiopian so we can assume that the dead are mostly of that nationality,” another IOM official said, adding that the death toll could climb much higher.

Most of the migrants were arrested in Yemen, while trying to cross to Saudi Arabia. More than 170,000 migrants have crossed from the Horn of Africa to Yemen since 2019, according to IOM data.

Last week, at least 20 people drowned after smugglers threw them into the sea while on a journey from Djibouti to Yemen. Similar incidents claimed 50 lives in October last year. More migrants are waiting to cross, and thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen, according to IOM.

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