A boat with 81 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar washed ashore in Indonesia after a 113 day trip. The refugees left the city of Cox‘s Bazar in Bangladesh on 11 February, where many Rohingya fled from Myanmar.
Soon the engine broke down, after which the ship drove without control in the Andaman Sea. Indian fishermen helped repair the boat, but the engine broke down again.
Nine refugees did not survive the journey, say aid organizations in Indonesia. The survivors were discovered by villagers on the beach of Kuala Simpang Ulim village in Aceh on Sumatra Island. There were 49 women, 21 men and 11 children on board.
No country wanted to take the refugees. The original destination of the boat was Malaysia. That country would have refused the refugees because of the fear of corona infection. Pleas from aid organizations to India, Bangladesh and Myanmar to dock the boat were in vain. The Indian Coast Guard followed the ship and fed the people on board.
Whether refugees can stay in Indonesia temporarily at least is still uncertain. “The refugees are not 100% safe,” says Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project to press agency Reuters. That organization keeps an eye on Rohingya refugees. “We hope they’re not sent back to sea.”