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Boat capsize: UN working with the government to create awareness

  • Published at 08:12 pm February 11th, 2020
Boat capsized
File Photo: Rescued individuals from the trawler, believed to carry dozens of Rohingyas, which capsized near Saint Martin's Island in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

At least 15 Rohingyas were reported to have drowned as a boat capsized in the Bay of Bengal near St Martin’s Island

On the heels of a boat capsize off the coast of St Martin’s Island on Tuesday morning, which killed at least 15 Rohingyas, United Nations agencies have said they are working with Bangladesh government to create awareness about the risk of irregular sea journeys among the Rohingyas and local people. 

“Irregular boat movements are not new to the Cox’s Bazar district, as both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis risk the unsafe journey to travel abroad due to compelling circumstances,” said a joint statement issued by the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

“Recognising the dangers they face at sea, the UN has been working with Government authorities to raise awareness among refugees and local people on the risks they may face. The UN is also supporting the strengthening of law enforcement capacities to address smuggling and trafficking and to protect those most at risk,” the statement said.  

“Support is also available in the district to trafficking survivors,” it added.

The joint statement further saidthe IOM and the UNHCR were closely liaising with the government’s first responders to the tragic boat capsize off the coast of St Martin’s Island in the Bay of Bengal.  

The incident happened in the early hours of Tuesday, with the authorities initially reporting 15 drowned, and at least 68 receiving first aid. 

“The UNHCR and IOM are saddened by this tragic loss of life and, together with our other UN and NGO partners, are standing by to offer assistance to the Government in responding to the needs of the survivors, be it food, shelter or medical aid,” the statement said.