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2 dozen Rohingya refugees feared drowned in Bangladesh

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Greater than two dozen Rohingya refugees have been lacking and feared drowned after a ship carrying them capsized within the Bay of Bengal, the United Nations and Bangladeshi police mentioned Sunday.

The refugees have been apparently making an attempt to flee a distant Bangladeshi island. A number of thousand Rohingya have been relocated to the island after beforehand residing in crowded camps close to the border with Myanmar.

The relocation has been criticized by the U.N. and human rights teams, who say the island isn’t match for habitation. The island was once often submerged by monsoon rains, however the authorities now says it’s been outfitted with protecting sea partitions, hospitals, colleges and mosques.

“On the morning of 14 August, UNHCR was alerted {that a} boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees had capsized near Bhasan Char island in a single day,” the U.N.’s refugee company mentioned in a Fb submit.

“We’re devastated that reportedly many passengers, together with girls and kids, have tragically drowned. The confirmed quantity just isn’t but identified,” it mentioned.

A police official in Noakhali district, the place the island is positioned, instructed The Related Press by telephone that about 40 refugees together with girls and kids have been in a fishing boat, nevertheless it sank in unhealthy climate.

Talking on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the difficulty, the official mentioned the refugees have been “apparently fleeing the island.”

The official mentioned at the least 14 refugees have been rescued by fishermen and introduced again to the island.

The U.N. mentioned native Bangladeshi fishermen arrived on the scene first and alerted authorities.

“The search and rescue operation is being led by the authorities, notably the Bangladesh Navy and the Coast Guard,” it mentioned.

“We’re in search of additional info from the Authorities of Bangladesh at the moment and stay in touch with refugee communities each on Bhasan Char and in Cox’s Bazar in an try and help the authorities in additional rescue efforts,” the company mentioned.

The federal government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which has sheltered greater than 1.1 million Rohingya refugees from neighboring Myanmar, has relocated about 20,000 refugees to the island from sprawling camps in Cox’s Bazar district.

The island in Noakhali district was developed by Bangladesh’s navy to accommodate some 100,000 refugees. Authorities earlier mentioned they’d relocate them to the island in phases.

Greater than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to refugee camps in Bangladesh since August 2017, when the army in Buddhist-majority Myanmar started a harsh crackdown on the Muslim ethnic group following an assault by insurgents. They joined a whole bunch of 1000’s of others who’ve fled to Bangladesh over many years.

The 2017 crackdown included rapes, killings and the torching of 1000’s of properties, and was termed ethnic cleaning by international rights teams and the U.N. Whereas Bangladesh and Myanmar have sought to rearrange repatriations, the Rohingya are too fearful to return dwelling.

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