BANGKOK, Thailand — The U.N. refugee company on Monday sounded the alarm for about 400 Rohingya Muslims believed to be aboard two boats reported to be out of provides and adrift within the Andaman Sea.
The UNHCR is frightened that every one aboard might die with out efforts to rescue them, mentioned Babar Baloch, the company’s Bangkok-based regional spokesperson.
“There are about 400 youngsters, men and women wanting dying within the eye if there are not any strikes to avoid wasting these determined souls,” he instructed The Related Press. The boats apparently embarked from Bangladesh and are reported to have been at sea for about two weeks, he mentioned.
The captain of one of many boats, contacted by the AP on Saturday, mentioned he had 180 to 190 individuals on board, that they’re out of meals and water and the engine was broken. The captain, who gave his identify as Maan Nokim, mentioned he fears all on board will die if they don’t obtain assist.
On Sunday, Nokim mentioned the boat was 200 miles from Thailand’s west coast. A Thai navy spokesperson, contacted Monday, mentioned he had no details about the boats.
The placement is about the identical distance from Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, the place one other boat with 139 individuals landed Saturday on Sabang Island, off the tip of Sumatra, Baloch mentioned. They embrace 58 youngsters, 45 ladies and 36 males — the everyday steadiness of these making the ocean journey, he mentioned. A whole lot extra arrived in Aceh final month.
There’s a seasonal exodus of Rohingyas, normally from squalid, overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh. The variety of Rohingya fleeing the camps has surged since final 12 months as a result of meals ration cuts and a spike in gang violence that has left camp residents fearing for his or her lives.
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 by means of their communities. Myanmar safety forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and the burning of 1000’s of Rohingya properties.
Worldwide courts are contemplating whether or not their actions constituted genocide.
Many of the refugees leaving the camps by sea try to achieve Muslim-dominated Malaysia, hoping to seek out work there. Thailand, reached by some boats, turns them away or detains them. Indonesia, one other Muslim-dominated nation the place many find yourself, additionally places them in detention.
Baloch mentioned if the 2 boats adrift will not be given help, the world “might witness one other tragedy corresponding to in December 2022, when a ship with 180 aboard went lacking in one of many darkest such incidents within the area.”