On Thursday, the Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said that a boat has been found in the Andaman Sea with 81 survivors of the Rohingya refugees. However, eight refugees died, and one other is reported missing.
"From the information we have, on February 11, 2021, a boat sailed from Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh carrying 64 women, including eight young girls and 26 men, including five young boys. The engine of the boat failed on February 15, and since then, it has been drifting. Due to the severe conditions, we understand that eight occupants have died, and one of the occupants has been missing since February 15," said Srivastava. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya seek refuge in the camps set up at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh after fleeing from a military clampdown in Myanmar. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had alerted earlier this week of the missing boat.
Indian authorities immediately dispatched two coast guard ships to aid the occupants of the boat, according to a statement by the MEA, and are in talks with Bangladesh for the repatriation of the survivors.
The authorities also confirmed the identities of 47 passengers as displaced Myanmar nationals through their ID cards issued by the UNHCR in Bangladesh.
UNHCR spokesperson Catherine Stubberfield, regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific, lauded the Indian coast guard's efforts. She added that immediate disembarkation is critical as passengers might lack basic human necessities and safety, given that they are still adrift in the Andaman waters.