Rohingya refugees who landed in Indonesia safe: UNHCR

By the time that the boat was eventually assisted in the Andaman Sea by the Indian authorities, nine passengers had reportedly passed away.
Myanmar Rohingyas Indonesia
Myanmar Rohingyas Indonesia

Kolkata, June 7 : At least 81 Rohingya refugees, who landed in Indonesia‘s Aceh coast last week, are currently being sheltered in Pulau Idaman near Simpang Ulim, UNHCR officials said.

“They are receiving food and medical assistance from the Indonesian authorities. UNHCR and humanitarian are on site to provide additional support and coordination to ensure that the refugees’ needs are met,” they said.

“After several months at sea in perilous conditions, these women, children and men have now found safety ashore.”

The UNHCR has “commended” the Indonesian government for allowing the disembarkation of the Rohingya boat.

It also lauded members of the local community who initially provided food provisions to the refugees.

The 81 refugees are believed to have departed from Bangladesh in a boat with 90 passengers on February 11.

Within days, the boat’s engine had broken down and the refugees’ lives were at risk, with many suffering from severe dehydration.

By the time that the boat was eventually assisted in the Andaman Sea by the Indian authorities, nine passengers had reportedly passed away.

After they again set sail, UNHCR and partner organisations lost contact with the refugees.

“It is both a humanitarian imperative and an international obligation to provide vessels in distress with life-saving assistance and disembarkation to a place of safety,” the UNHCR had said in a statement last week.

“While we commend the Government and people of Indonesia once more for their humanitarian gesture, UNHCR reiterates the urgent need for states in the region to come together to forge a collective regional response to search, rescue and disembarkation.”

Vulnerable women, children and men should not be left to the mercy of the high seas, it said.

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