At least eight Rohingya died on board a boat carrying dozens of refugees, including women and children, after damage at sea, an NGO and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Monday. Hundreds of the Rohingya, members of a Muslim community that fled persecution in Burma, each year attempt a perilous journey to Malaysia to escape the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The ship left Bangladesh on February 11 with 90 people on board, including 65 women and girls, Chris Lewa, of the NGO Arakan Project, told AFP. But it broke down after a few days and drifted into the Adaman Sea off India, as passengers began to run out of water and food on board, the organization official said. who tries to follow the Rohingya boats. Six women and two men died of dehydration, according to the NGO which is in contact with refugees on board. UNHCR has confirmed several deaths on board.
Indian maritime authorities recently arrived in the area and provided food to the refugees, said Chris Lewa. The UN agency called for “immediate action (…) to save lives and prevent further tragedies». «We call on all governments to deploy rescue teams and disembark those in distress”Said UNHCR.
The Rohingyas originate from the predominantly Buddhist Burma. Some 750,000 of them fled abuses by the Burmese army in 2017 and live in Bangladesh in what is described as the world’s largest refugee camp.
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