UN agencies fear about 70 missing or dead from capsized Rohingya refugee boat

Mar22,2024



Myulaboh: Around 70 Muslim Rohingya refugees feared dead missing or dead From a boat that made the difficult voyage from Bangladesh and sank IndonesiaAshore this week with 75 survivors, united nations agencies Said. A statement issued jointly by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, and the International Office for Migration, or IOM, said they were “extremely concerned about the scale of the potential loss of life,” adding that survivors Indicated that there were originally about 150 people aboard.
This probably included a crew of about five, who apparently abandoned ship and whose whereabouts are unknown. Two survivors told The Associated Press on Friday that when the refugee ship began sinking, the captain and four crew members abandoned the boat and took another boat.
Indonesian fishermen raised concerns about the damaged ship on Wednesday as they began rescuing its passengers, and on Thursday an Indonesian search and rescue ship recovered the sunken ship about 22 kilometers (14 miles) off the west coast of Indonesia's Aceh province. The remaining people were evacuated.
The joint UN statement did not give the exact number of people killed, but a website run by the UNHCR said 75 people were reported “dead or missing” from a boat that sank on Wednesday. matches.
“If confirmed, it would be the largest such influx so far this year,” the statement said, referring to a steady stream of boats carrying Rohingyas trying to flee overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar. There will be loss of life and property.”
There has been a significant increase in the arrival of Rohingya refugees to Indonesia in the past year. The statement said the 2,300 refugees who arrived in 2023 were more than the total number in the previous four years.
The boat's survivors included 44 men, 22 women and nine children. Some were taken to local hospitals for treatment but most were sent to a temporary shelter in the Barat district of Aceh. Many people told UNHCR workers that they had lost family members during the journey.
“In one case, there was a child whose parents and siblings died during the journey,” Faisal Rahman, a UNHCR staff member in Aceh, said on Friday. “There was another case, a husband whose wife and child died. Also, children whose mother died. There were many families who said their relatives had disappeared or died at sea,”
Survivor Solia Begum, 18, told The Associated Press that when the water in the boat started rising, the captain stopped the boat and ran with his crew to another boat. His account could not be immediately confirmed.
Sometimes people deliberately sink refugee boats to force rescuers in destination countries to take passengers ashore, but usually such actions are taken close to land.
Another survivor, Akram Ullah, 30, told the AP that the boat had left Bangladesh on March 9 and that its captain and at least some of the crew were Indonesians. He also said that when the boat started sinking, the captain and four other crew members fled.
About 1 million Rohingyas from Myanmar are refugees in Bangladesh. They include about 740,000 people who fled in 2017 to escape a brutal counter-terrorism campaign by Myanmar security forces, who were accused of carrying out mass rapes and killings and burning thousands of homes.
The Rohingya minority face widespread discrimination in Myanmar and most are denied citizenship.
Due to inadequate water, sanitation and health care, life in refugee camps in Bangladesh is difficult. Which are vulnerable to fire, flood and spread of disease. Opportunities for meaningful work are few and violent criminal gangs terrorize residents.
Aid agency Save the Children said the ongoing voyages highlight the dire conditions in the camps in Bangladesh. It said that 250 unaccompanied children were also among the Rohingyas who arrived in Indonesia in the last three months of last year.
“The presence of unaccompanied children in Aceh is worrying and shows that Rohingya families are desperate to send their children away in search of a better life,” said Dessi Kurviani Ukar, the group's temporary Indonesia director.
The group said other countries in the region besides Indonesia should share the responsibility of taking in Rohingya refugees.



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