Sunday, March 3, 2024

UNHCR appeals to save 185 Rohingyas stranded at sea near Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Rohingya refugees disembark from a boat upon landing in Indonesia’s Aceh province in November. More than 1,500 Rohingya Muslims have arrived in the province in recent weeks. Photo: AP

The group of some 185 Rohingya, mostly women and children, are in desperate need of rescue after falling into distress near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Saturday.

UNHCR is calling on regional coastal authorities for urgent action. India has previously shown no response to such pleas to rescue Rohingyas stranded in the sea.

Among those onboard are around 70 children and 88 women. At least a dozen are feared to be in critical condition with one individual reported to have already died, the global agency stated.

Since 2022, more than 570 people including Rohingya refugees have been reported dead or missing at sea in the region.

The Rohingya were fleeing overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, where they had taken shelter after escaping their homeland in Myanmar.

Several Rohingyas have washed up on the shores of Indonesia in the past months in vessels operated by human trafficking groups. Earlier this month over 300 Rohingya refugees arrived on the coast of Aceh province in Indonesia after weeks of drifting across the sea from Bangladesh.

More than 750,000 Rohingya were forced to flee Myanmar in 2017 after the military launched a crackdown on the Muslim minority, torching their homes and properties.

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