Fears for Rohingya stranded at sea for 10 days, as engines fail and eight die
The United Nations refugee agency has called for the immediate rescue of a group of Rohingya refugees adrift in their boat in the Andaman Sea without food or water, many of them ill and suffering from extreme dehydration.
The UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) said it did not know the exact location of the vessel and understood that some passengers had died. The boat had left southern Bangladesh about 10 days ago and experienced engine failure, it said.
“Immediate action is needed to save lives and prevent further tragedy,” UNHCR said in a statement, offering to support governments by providing humanitarian help to those rescued.
According to UNHCR, the boat set out from the Bangladesh coastal district of Cox’s Bazar, where about a million Rohingya live in dire conditions in sprawling refugee camps.
In Malaysia meanwhile, a court has temporarily stayed the deportation of 1,200 Myanmar nationals who were due to be returned home on boats provided by the Myanmar military. The migrants included members of vulnerable minorities, and had been sent to a military base on Malaysia’s west coas to be loaded on to three boats for the journey home .
The United States and the UN criticised the plan, and have called for the UN refugee agency to be granted access to the detainees to assess whether any are asylum seekers.