JAKARTA: Almost two hundred Rohingya, most of them women and children, arrived by boat at Indonesia’s Aceh province on Tuesday (Nov 14), the chief of a local fishing community said, the latest batch of people to have fled Myanmar by boat this year.
Many members of the ethnic Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority in Myanmar, have for years boarded rickety wooden boats to escape to Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia as well as Thailand.
Several hundred Rohingya arrived in Aceh earlier this year, and massive numbers have died at sea from disease, hunger and fatigue. Last year was one of the deadliest in a decade for such refugees, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.
Miftah Cut Ade, chief of the local fishing community in Aceh, told Reuters 196 Rohingya arrived on one large wooden boat in Aceh’s Pidie region, 128 of whom are children and women, adding they were “weak and in need of nutrition.”
A UNHCR spokesperson said its team was on the way to the area, but gave no further details.
Nearly one million Rohingya Muslims fled a military-led crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar in 2017 and now live in what UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi described as “the biggest humanitarian refugee camp in the world” in Bangladesh.
Residents gave food and water to the Rohingya, Miftah said, adding they were taken to a temporary shelter nearby.
Photos shared by Miftah showed the Rohingya lying on the sand, surrounded by local residents.
Effendi, a local police chief, said his team was assisting on the ground, adding he had no information about where they had travelled from.
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