September 25, 2023
Practically 200 ravenous Rohingya refugees rescued from stricken vessel


They battled starvation and dehydration after the engine of their rickety boat minimize out, leaving them adrift within the Andaman Sea for weeks.

Some grew so determined, they drank seawater. Others prayed for rain, so they might briefly quench their thirst.

Ravenous and with out drugs, some reportedly succumbed to sickness. Regardless of their perilous scenario, a number of calls by help businesses to rescue the group went unanswered, leaving the destiny of practically 200 Rohingya refugees to the weather.

Then on Monday, 185 individuals – together with many ladies and youngsters – had been rescued in Aceh, Indonesia, based on Babar Baloch, an Asia spokesperson for the United Nations’ refugee company (UNHCR).

Practically 200 ravenous Rohingya refugees rescued from stricken vessel

A volunteer and a soldier transports a Rohingya woman onto an ambulance heading to a new shelter in the Muara Tiga district in Pidie, Aceh province on December 26, 2022.

“Determined males, ladies and youngsters. Many dehydrated, needing pressing medical consideration. A sigh of reduction,” Baloch wrote on Twitter.

The rescue is an indication of hope for the group, which left Bangladesh final month, the place round 1 million members of the stateless Muslim minority Rohingya reside in what many take into account to among the many world’s largest refugee camps after fleeing a brutal marketing campaign of killing and arson by the Myanmar army.

Video shared with CNN by family members of passengers present dozens of of individuals collapsing from exhaustion on a seashore within the Southeast Asian nation. Many may be seen clinging to one another, crying with reduction. Amongst them, younger youngsters and ladies, with garments soaked in water and dust. Their sullen faces seem pale and gaunt having gone with out meals and water for weeks.

CNN can not independently confirm the video.

Whereas the boat’s rescue has been welcomed by rights teams and the passengers’ households, its harrowing journey is yet one more instance of the compounding distress confronted by the Rohingya, probably the most persecuted minority teams on the earth.

The refugees’ voyage started on November 25 from the overcrowded refugee camps of Cox’s Bazaar, the place circumstances are dire and ladies are vulnerable to sexual assault and violence.

Among the many passengers was a younger mom in search of a greater future for her 5-year-old daughter, and a 17-year-old boy hoping to earn sufficient cash to purchase medicines for his ailing dad and mom.

The boat was thought to have been heading to Malaysia, and had been adrift since late November when its engine reportedly minimize out.

At completely different factors in its voyage, the boat was noticed close to India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. The UNHCR stated its earlier pleas for intervention had been “repeatedly ignored” by a number of South and Southeast Asian nations.

A number of passengers are believed to have died, based on Mohammed Rezuwan Khan, whose sister and niece had been on the boat. CNN can not independently confirm the deaths.

Particulars of the passengers’ rescue are additionally unclear.

On Sunday, 58 individuals believed to be from the boat had been presumably rescued by fishermen in Aceh, based on UNHCR’s Baloch. On Monday, the remaining surviving passengers arrived on shore, he added.

A policeman stands guard next to a group of Rohingya refugees waiting to be transferred to a temporary shelter following their arrival by boat in Krueng Raya, Indonesia's Aceh province on December 25, 2022.

CNN has reached out to the Indonesian police for remark however has not heard again.

Lots of the passengers at the moment are receiving medical care in Aceh, nevertheless it stays unclear what would possibly occur with them within the coming days.

“Most of their circumstances are unwell,” the top of the catastrophe administration company in Aceh’s Pidie regency , Muhammad Misbahul, informed Reuters, including paramedics from three native clinics had been caring for them.

One of many refugees, Umar Farukh, informed Reuters he hoped Indonesia “would give us the chance of training.”

“I need to obtain extra training,” he stated.

Since 2020, greater than 3,000 Rohingya have tried the journey from Bangladesh by sea, two thirds of them ladies and youngsters, based on the UN.

Not all survive the damaging voyage.

In line with UNHCR, round 180 Rohingya refugees aboard a separate vessel are feared useless after relations misplaced contact with these on board.

The second boat additionally began its journey in late November, and commenced to interrupt aside in early December, UNHCR stated in a press release, citing unconfirmed studies.

In line with Baloch, some 2,000 Rohingya have taken the dangerous sea journey in 2022 alone. Of that quantity, practically 200 have been reported lacking, he added.

If studies of the 180 feared useless are confirmed, it might make this yr one of many deadliest for the persecuted group in search of refuge in a 3rd nation, Baloch stated.

“I humbly attraction to the world to not let the Rohingya die,” stated Khan. “Give us no less than some fundamental human rights that we deserve.”

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