Almost 300 Rohingya refugees believed to have been at sea for six months landed in Indonesia’s Aceh province within the early on Monday, Indonesian authorities have confirmed.
Acehnese police mentioned a wood boat carrying the Rohingya was noticed by native fishermen a number of kilometres (miles) off the coast of Lhokseumawe, earlier than touchdown at Ujung Blang Beach simply after midnight
“There are 297 Rohingya according to the latest data, among them 181 women and 14 children,” Iptu Irwansya, a neighborhood police chief, advised Reuters.
Junaidi Yahya, head of the Red Cross in Lhokseumawe, mentioned the group was presently being held in a short lived location.
“We hope they can be moved to the evacuation centre today, but their health, especially related to COVID-19, is our main concern,” mentioned Yahya.
Among the group was one sick 13-year-old who police mentioned was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Images of the Rohingya arrivals present traces of ladies in masks carrying their possessions in plastic luggage, and males huddled on the ground of a thatched roof shelter.
Monday’s arrival follows the arrival of one other vessel in late June when Acehnese fishermen rescued greater than 100 Rohingya refugees, together with 79 girls and youngsters, after Indonesian authorities had initially threatened to push them again.
Fleeing persecution in Myanmar and refugee camps in Bangladesh, the Rohingya have for years boarded boats in an try to hunt refuge in different Southeast Asian nations.
Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, a non-profit group specializing in the Rohingya disaster, mentioned the passengers that arrived in Aceh on Monday had set sail from southern Bangladesh on the finish of March or early April, certain for Malaysia.
But each Malaysian and Thai authorities pushed them again, she mentioned, as borders tightened because of coronavirus pandemic.
Smugglers cut up the passengers into a number of boats, a few of which managed to land in Malaysia and Indonesia in June, however a number of hundred remained at sea till Sunday night time.
The smugglers known as their households to demand funds within the weeks earlier than they have been taken to shore, she mentioned.
“The smugglers seemed to not want to try to disembark them because not everyone had paid… They were basically keeping them hostage on the boat,” she mentioned.