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382 Starving Rohingya Migrants Floating For 58 Day At Sea, Rescued Off Bangladesh Coast

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The coast guard of Bangladesh says it has rescued at least 382 starving Rohingya refugees who had been drifting at sea for nearly two months.

More than two dozen people died on the boat, which was trying to reach Malaysia, officials said.

Some reports said the boat had been turned back by Malaysia because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is unclear whether the refugees had left from Bangladesh or from Myanmar, where they are originally from.

In 2017, a crackdown by the Myanmar military left thousands of Rohingya Muslims dead and drove more than 700,000 to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

“We have rescued at least 382 Rohingya from a big overcrowded fishing trawler and brought them to a beach near Teknaf,” coast guard spokesman Lt Shah Zia Rahman told AFP news agency.

“They were starving. They were floating for 58 days and over the last seven days [the boat] was moving in our territorial waters.”

Lt Rahman said authorities launched a three-day search for the boat after receiving a tip-off and found it at night off the south-east coast.

Pictures on social media showed groups of emaciated people, mostly women and children, standing on a beach.

 

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