The Fiji TimesDeadliest 12 months for Rohingya at sea in years as 180 presumed drowned

NEW DELHI/DHAKA (Reuters) -The potential sinking of a ship in current weeks with 180 Rohingya Muslims on board may make 2022 one of many deadliest years at sea in nearly a decade for the neighborhood, a U.N. company mentioned, as refugees attempt to flee determined circumstances in Bangladesh camps.

Almost 1 million Rohingya from Myanmar live in crowded amenities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, together with tens of 1000’s who fled their residence nation after its navy performed a lethal crackdown in 2017.

The variety of Rohingya leaving Bangladesh in boats this 12 months has jumped greater than five-fold from a 12 months earlier to almost 2,400, rights teams estimate. It isn’t clear if the lifting of COVID restrictions in Southeast Asia, a favoured vacation spot, has led to the push of individuals.

In Buddhist-majority Myanmar, most Rohingya are denied citizenship and are seen as unlawful immigrants from South Asia.

The United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) mentioned it feared {that a} boat that set sail on the finish of November was lacking, with all 180 on board presumed useless.

The UNHCR mentioned the vessel could have began to crack in early December earlier than shedding contact. It added it was not clear the place the boat began, however three Rohingya males, together with one whose household have been onboard, mentioned it set off from Bangladesh.

Almost 200 Rohingya have been already feared useless or lacking at sea this 12 months. “We hope towards hope that the 180 lacking are nonetheless alive someplace,” mentioned UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch.

Thai authorities mentioned 4 girls and one man have been discovered floating close to Thailand’s Surin island and one other lady at Similan islands and have been rescued by fishermen. Authorities had not but confirmed their identities.

An area fisherman advised Reuters he and his crew had rescued individuals hanging onto a floating water tank.

UNHCR’s Baloch mentioned 2022 was one of many worst years for useless and lacking after 2013 and 2014, when 900 and 700 Rohingya died or went lacking within the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal after inter-communal violence pressured them to flee.


Sayedur Rahman, 38, who fled to Malaysia in 2012 from Myanmar, mentioned his spouse and three youngsters have been among the many lacking on the vessel.

“In 2017, my household got here to Bangladesh to avoid wasting their lives,” Rahman mentioned. “However they’re now all gone … I’m completely devastated… We Rohingya are left to die … on the land, at sea. All over the place.”

Bangladesh has prior to now arrested individuals smugglers. The densely populated nation has additionally requested the worldwide neighborhood to assist ease the load of internet hosting so many refugees.

Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Mission that works to assist the Rohingya, advised Reuters {that a} boat that drifted for weeks after leaving Bangladesh carrying almost 200 had landed in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Monday night.

Earlier this month, she mentioned many individuals from the identical boat could have died of starvation or thirst.

“It’s outrageous that they have been left adrift for almost 4 weeks, both fully ignored with out meals and water or towed out in direction of Indonesia,” Lewa mentioned.

An area Indonesian catastrophe mitigation company mentioned there have been 185 passengers who arrived within the district of Pidie in Aceh province on Monday night.

Some 57 different Rohingya reached Aceh on Sunday after almost a month adrift. Two different boats carrying a complete of 230 Rohingya landed on the shores of Aceh final month, whereas this month, Sri Lanka’s navy rescued 104 Rohingya.

“Life within the camp is filled with uncertainties, there is no such thing as a hope that they’ll return residence quickly,” mentioned Mohammed Imran, a former Rohingya neighborhood chief who has returned to Bangladesh from Malaysia.


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