New Delhi: The Indian coast guard has found a boat adrift in the Andaman Sea carrying Rohingya refugees, including eight people who had died, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.
Speaking at a videoconference briefing, spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that on February 11, a boat sailed from Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh carrying 64 women including 8 girls and 26 men including 5 boys.
“The engine of the boat failed on February 15 and since then it has been drifting. Due to the severe conditions, we understand that eight occupants have died and one of the occupants had been missing since February 15,” Srivastava said.
“When we learnt of the boat in distress, we immediately dispatched two coast guard ships to provide food, water and medical assistance to the occupants. Seven of them were administered IV fluids,” he added.
The spokesperson stated that around 47 of the boat’s occupants possessed identity cards issued to them by the UNHCR office in Bangladesh, which stated that they were displaced Myanmar nationals and person of concern to UNHCR registered by the Bangladesh government.
“We are in discussions with the Government of Bangladesh to ensure their safe and secure repatriation,” the spokesperson said further.
Bangladesh on Thursday has called on countries surrounding the Andaman Sea to rescue the Rohingya refugees who were adrift for weeks.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) on Monday appealed for the immediate rescue of the Rohingya refugees in distress on the Andaman Sea.
“Refugees have told us that the vessel ran out of food and water several days ago, and that many of the passengers are ill. The vessel has reportedly been adrift since the engine broke down, more than a week ago. We have not been able to confirm the number of refugees or their precise location at this time,” UNHCR said.