COX’S BAZAR, April 16, 2020 – Bangladesh Coast Guard today said they sent to quarantine 396 Rohingyas rescued overnight after they drifted for weeks in the sea following their failed attempt to reach Malaysia while nearly 50 of them died due to ailments and malnutrition during the period.
“We have handed them over to UNHCR (UN refugee agency) disposal to be quarantined for 14 days,” Coast Guard’s station commander in Cox’s Bazar Lieutenant Commander Sohel Rana said to this correspondent.
He added many of the rescued Rohingyas would stay at a cyclone shelter in Teknaf coastlines which was overnight converted as a quarantine centre for them.
Rana’s comments came a day after coastguards rescued and detained the mostly emaciated Rohingyas, 64 of them being minor children, as they were trying to secretly land at a ferry terminal in Teknaf after floating for 58 days.
One of the rescued Rohingyas told a BSS correspondent from a safe distance that they managed to get onboard a ship through small boars sneaking out of their camps in Cox’s Bazar to be ferried to Malaysia under a contract with “Myanmar middlemen”.
“We twice tried to disembark in Malaysian coast but chased away by their navy . . . then the ship tried to take us to Thailand where the Thai navy also barred us from landing,” said 34-year old Moahmmad Salam.
He added that during the return journey the Myanmar navy redirected the ship to Bangladesh as it reached near the Burmese coastline where the 11 Myanmar middlemen disembarked.
Another Rohingya, 23-year Mohammad Zobair said at the start of the journey they were 450 in number but dozens of their compatriots perished as they drifted on the sea having little food and water.
“The Thai navy and some fishing boats, however, gave us meager food and water to survive . . . we threw bodies of the deceased to the sea,” Zobair said.(BSS)