UN says 26 Rohingyas died at sea before over 230 rescued in Indonesia

Bangkok, Dec 27 (EFE).- At least 26 Rohingya refugees died during their perilous sea journey before more than 230 illegal migrants from Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority arrived on an Indonesian beach this week, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

On Sunday and Monday, Indonesian fishermen and local officials rescued and disembarked 232 refugees, the majority of whom were women and children, from two decrepit wooden boats.

Authorities reported the boats arrived in Sumatra, Indonesia, after being stuck at sea for days.

The Rohingya refugees survived for about a month in a precarious boat that drifted.

“Survivors…who arrived yesterday told UNHCR that some 26 people have died during this long journey owing to dire conditions onboard,” the UN refugee agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ship carrying 174 survivors that arrived on Monday was the second in Aceh after a vessel with 58 Rohingyas docked on Sunday.

The UN agency said it was relieved to see the desperate people being brought ashore to safety.

“Many among them are believed to have been adrift for at least a month, without any help before being rescued.”

The agency welcomed the “act of humanity by local communities and authorities in Indonesia.”

The refugee agency said it was attending to those brought ashore, as many of them require urgent medical attention.

The agency is also rushing more supplies and staff to help local communities and local authorities support the rescued.

Aceh police have said that the rescued refugees were accommodated in different facilities, and the sick were given medical attention.

Many refugees had become very weak due to dehydration after spending days drifting at sea.

Authorities are compiling data about the conditions and origin of the group and have activated other state agencies to tackle the situation, a police spokesperson said.

The UNHCR said over 2,000 desperate people were reported to have taken risky sea journeys in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal this year.

Nearly 200 have reportedly died.

The agency said it also received unconfirmed reports that one additional boat with some 180 people was still missing, with all passengers presumed dead.

The Rohingya refugees risk their lives on boats after leaving Bangladesh to illegally reach Malaysia or Indonesia in pursuit of a brighter and prosperous future.

Indonesia has helped save 472 people in the past six weeks from four boats, “showing its commitment and respect of basic humanitarian principles for people who face persecution and conflict,” the UNHCR said. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button