The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on Tuesday said over one-third of the almost 300 Rohingya migrants, who landed in Indonesia recently after seven months at sea, need hospitalisation and medical care.
Spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said in a statement that three migrants have died after coming ashore in Aceh Province on Sept. 7, all them from lung infections.
“Having been repeatedly turned away and refused disembarkation in the region, many are showing symptoms consistent with beriberi disease, a preventable condition caused by acute vitamin deficiency.
“This tragic episode serves as a stark reminder to states in the region that prompt action to provide a safe port could have saved dozens of lives.
“Four out of five in the group are women and children and about half are girls under the age of 18,’’ Mantoo said.
The Rohingya have been sheltered in a government building, where they have received assistance from local authorities, the UNCHR and other aid organisations.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), another UN agency, said some of the Rohingya had agreed to pay smugglers more than 2,000 dollars to take them to Malaysia.
“At least 30 people in the group died at sea,’’ the IOM said.
Survivors told UN officials that they had left Bangladesh aboard a small boat that took them to a larger vessel.
UN investigators have accused Myanmar’s military of carrying out mass killings and other atrocities against the Muslim minority with “genocidal intent” during a 2017 campaign that forced over 730,000 across the border into Bangladesh.