Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 22 February: UN Refugee Agency UNHCR on Monday appealed for an immediate rescue of a group of Rohingya refugees in distress on the Andaman Sea.
According to the UNHCR official page, the agency had received reports of an unconfirmed number of Rohingya refugees aboard a vessel in distress as of February 20 evening.
The refugees report having departed from Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf in Bangladesh, approximately 10 days ago. Many are in a highly vulnerable condition and are apparently suffering from extreme dehydration.
We understand that a number of refugees have already lost their lives, and that fatalities have risen over the past 24 hours, said UNHCR.
The Rohingyas told UNHCR representatives that the engine of the vessel broke down, more than a week ago, they ran out of food and water several days ago, and many of the passengers fell sick.
‘In the absence of precise information as to the refugees’ location, we have alerted the authorities of the relevant maritime states of these reports and appealed for their swift assistance, should the vessel be found in their area of responsibility for search and rescue. Immediate action is needed to save lives and prevent further tragedy,’ said UNHCR.
The report also said that UNHCR was ready to provide any kind of support to the governments across the region in this regard.