Despite six months of escalating war in Yemen, the U.N. refugee agency says more than 35,000 people fleeing their homelands — mainly from Ethiopia and Somalia — have poured into the country in hopes of finding a better life.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees statement sheds new light on the desperation that people face and the risks they're willing to take. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards noted Tuesday that Yemen has long been a thoroughfare for those seeking to reach the oil-rich Gulf states, and many migrants have sought ways around fighting that has escalated since March.

Six months of fighting in Yemen between forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a U.S. ally, and Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi rebels has killed over 4,000 people.