BOAT WITH 90 ROHINGYA REFUGEES ADRIFT IN ANDAMAN SEA: UN
A group of Rohingya refugees is adrift in a boat in the Andaman Sea without food or water, the United Nations (UN) said, as their families worried that many may have already died, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, said it understands that some of the refugees died after the boat left southern Bangladesh about two weeks ago. It said it does not know the boat's exact current location.
The UN and rights groups including Amnesty International have said many of the refugees were ill and suffering from acute dehydration.
Reports said about 90 refugees, including some children, started the journey to seek better lives.
Human traffickers often lure refugees, promising them work in Southeast Asian nations.
More than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are living in crowded camps in Bangladesh, including more than 700,000 who fled after Myanmar's military conducted a harsh counterinsurgency operation in 2017 involving mass rape, murders and the torching of villages.
Authorities in Bangladesh said Tuesday they had no information about any boat that recently carried Rohingya refugees out of Bangladesh's waters.
“We have no idea,” said Hafizur Rahman, police chief of Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar district.
The UNHCR said the Indian coast guard has sent rescuers to look for the refugees. “We appreciate the efforts of the Indian coast guard in deploying their search and rescue team," said Catherine Stubberfield, spokesperson for the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific.