Indian coast guard rescues 81 Rohingya refugees on a drifting boat, 8 dead and 1 missing
On Friday, an Indian foreign ministry official said that India’s coast guard found 81 survivors and eight dead on a boat crammed with Rohingya refugees adrift in the Andaman Sea.
The Indian Coast guards rescued the survivors and repaired the vessel so that it can return safely to Bangladesh. On Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava gave the news about the rescue and said that one refugee was missing.
This week, the United Nations refugee agency had raised the alarm over a missing boat, which had set off on Feb. 11 from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar is refugee camp area for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have fled neighboring Myanmar. 90 people were on the boat and 23 of them were children.
After four days at sea the boat’s engine failed. The Rohingya ran out of food and water, due to which they were ill. By the time they were rescued, many of the survivors suffered from extreme dehydration. Among the 90 people that set out on the voyage, 8 were found dead and one was missing.
Spokesman Srivastava said that two Indian coast guard ships were sent to help the refugees after they received urgent calls for help.
On request of anonymity an Indian coast guard official monitoring the search and rescue effort said, “It’s a humanitarian crisis and we are doing the best we can to save their lives. The foreign ministry is working towards sending them back to Bangladesh and India will repair or replace the boat’s engine to ensure they can travel back safely”
He further said that, “The survivors were being provided with food supplies and medicine, and women and children have been given fresh clothes. It was unclear what arrangements were being made for the funeral rites of the people who perished.”
The Indian government is in discussions with Bangladesh to ensure their safe return.
After the deadly crackdown by security forces in Myanmar in 2017, thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh. Over 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are living in the crowded camps in Bangladesh.