Almost 100,000 refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia flowed into Yemen last year, often dying en route, despite a brutal civil war that mushroomed into an international conflict. As bad as things are in Yemen, Ethiopians and Somalis are still willing to risk death to emigrate there.
U.N. refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards speculated that part of the problem was the impoverished refugees, 90 percent of them from Ethiopia, simply do not realize how bad Yemen has become, or how risky a clandestine voyage on unreliable boats across the Gulf of Aden or Red Sea can be. They may have been deliberately misled by smugglers looking to cash in on their misery.
Yemen itself is the source of a significant refugee tide, with the U.N. estimating 168,000 have fled the country since March, with another 2.5 million internally displaced, and about 3,000 civilian casualties in the civil war.