Over 180 Rohingya refugees feared dead at sea

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At least 180 ethnic Rohingya stranded at sea for weeks after leaving Bangladesh in November are feared dead, as their rickety boat is thought to have sunk this month, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said.

Citing unconfirmed reports, the agency said the “unseaworthy” boat probably sank after it went missing in the sea. “Relatives have lost contact,” the UNHCR wrote on Twitter.

Last week, two Myanmar Rohingya activist groups said up to 20 people died of hunger or thirst on a boat that was stranded at sea for two weeks off India’s coast. The boat with at least 100 people was said to be in Malaysian waters.A broken-down boat carrying 57 Rohingya refugees landed on Indonesia’s western coast on Sunday after a month at sea, police said.

“Those last in touch presume all are dead.” More than 1 million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are living in crowded camps in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, including tens of thousands who fled Myanmar after its military conducted a deadly crackdown in 2017. 57 survivors of another boat land in Indonesia after one month

Thousands of the mostly Muslim Rohingya, heavily persecuted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, risk their lives each year on long, expensive sea journeys — often in poor-quality vessels — in an attempt to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.

The wooden vessel with 57 men on board arrived around 8am local time (0100 GMT) on a beach in the westernmost Aceh province, local police spokesman Winardy said. “The boat had a broken engine and it was carried by the wind to a shore in Ladong Village in Aceh Besar (district),” Winardy, who goes by one name, said. “They said they have been drifting at sea for a month.” Winardy added that police arrived at the beach after being informed by some locals that the boat had docked there.—Agencies