U.N. warns that 2 boats adrift within the Andaman Sea with 400 Rohingya aboard desperately want rescue

BANGKOK — An estimated 400 Rohingya Muslims believed to be aboard two boats adrift within the Andaman Sea with out enough provides might die if extra is just not performed to rescue them, in keeping with the U.N. refugee company and support staff.

The variety of Rohingya Muslims fleeing by boats in a seasonal exodus – often from squalid, overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh – has been rising since final yr as a consequence of cuts to meals rations and a spike in gang violence.

“There are about 400 children, women and men looking death in the eye if there are no moves to save these desperate souls,” Babar Baloch, the company’s Bangkok-based regional spokesperson, instructed The Associated Press.

The whereabouts of the opposite boat had been unclear.

The boats apparently embarked from Bangladesh and are reported to have been at sea for about two weeks, he stated.

The captain of one of many boats, contacted by the AP, stated he had 180 to 190 folks on board. They had been out of meals and water and the engine was broken. The captain, who gave his title as Maan Nokim, stated he feared all on board will die if they don’t obtain assist.

On Sunday, Nokim stated the boat was 320 kilometers (200 miles) from Thailand’s west coast. A Thai navy spokesperson, contacted Monday, stated he had no details about the boats.

The location is about the identical distance from Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, the place one other boat with 139 folks landed Saturday on Sabang Island, off the tip of Sumatra, Baloch stated. Those on the ship included 58 kids, 45 girls and 36 males – the standard stability of these making the ocean journey, he stated. Hundreds extra arrived in Aceh final month.

About 740,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to the camps in Bangladesh since August 2017, after a brutal counterinsurgency marketing campaign tore via their communities. Myanmar safety forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and the burning of hundreds of Rohingya houses, and worldwide courts are contemplating whether or not their actions constituted genocide.

Most of the refugees leaving the camps by sea try to achieve Muslim-dominated Malaysia, hoping to seek out work there. Thailand turns them away or detains them. Indonesia, one other Muslim-dominated nation the place many find yourself, additionally places them in detention.

Baloch stated if the 2 boats adrift should not given help, the world “may witness another tragedy such as in December 2022, when a boat with 180 aboard went missing in one of the darkest such incidents in the region.”

The support group Save the Children stated in a Nov. 22 report that 465 Rohingya kids had arrived in Indonesia by boat over the earlier week and the the variety of refugees taking to the seas had elevated by greater than 80%.

It stated greater than 3,570 Rohingya Muslims had left Bangladesh and Myanmar this yr, up from practically 2,000 in the identical interval of 2022. Of those that left this yr, 225 are recognized to have died or had been lacking, with many others not accounted for.

“The desperate situation of Rohingya families is forcing them to take unacceptable risks in search of a better life. These perilous journeys show that many Rohingya refugees have lost all hope,” Sultana Begum, the group’s supervisor for humanitarian coverage and advocacy, stated in an announcement.


Associated Press author Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Australia, contributed to this report.

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