At least 14 dead as Rohingya refugee boat sinks off Bangladesh

October 9, 2017 | By | Reply More

At least 14 Rohingya refugees, most of them children, drowned and scores more were missing Monday after their overloaded boat capsized, the latest tragedy to strike those fleeing violence in Myanmar.

rohingya refugeesAuthorities in Bangladesh said the boat was carrying 60 to 100 people when it overturned and sank in rough seas on Sunday night.

The bodies of 11 children, two women and a man were washed up on Shah Porir Dwip island in Bangladesh and border guards pulled 13 survivors from the sea, but the fate of the others remains unknown.

Alif Jukhar, a Rohingya refugee who has long lived in Bangladesh, lost nine relatives in the disaster including his mother and father.

“Yesterday I spoke to my parents on the phone and they told me they would arrive in Shah Porir Dwip tomorrow,” he told as he used his bare hands to bury their bodies.

Shortly afterwards, overcome with grief, he collapsed screaming in the middle of the cemetery.

More than half a million Rohingya have left Myanmar since militant raids on police posts on August 25 prompted a brutal military backlash against the Muslim minority, which the United Nations has said could amount to ethnic cleansing.

Around 150 have drowned trying to make the journey in small and rickety fishing boats that coastguards say are woefully inadequate for the rough seas.

“We set off at around 6 pm. We did not have any choice but to leave our village,” he said, telling how the overloaded boat overturned when it hit a shoal and sank in rough water.

“They (security forces) have restricted our movements. Many are starving as we could not even go to shop or market to buy food,” said the 30-year-old Rohingya farmhand, who lived in a village east of Myanmar’s Buthidaung township.

Hossain’s mother, his pregnant wife and two children were all still missing.

The International Organization for Migration said some children on board had lost their entire families in the disaster and were now alone in a strange country.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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