69 Rohingya refugees rescued off Indonesia

Rohingya refugees board a National Search and Rescue Agency vessel after they were rescued from their capsized boat in waters some 16 nautical miles of West Aceh on Thursday.

Al Jazeera :
At least 69 Rohingya refugees have been rescued after a wooden boat with an estimated 150 people on board capsized off the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province.
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS Aceh) said on Thursday that 42 men, 18 women and nine children were brought to port.
But dozens more are feared to have drowned. The boat is thought to have run into trouble some 19km (12 miles) from the beach of Kuala Bubon on the west coast of Aceh after it hit rough seas on Wednesday morning.
Earlier, six people – four women and two men – were rescued from the boat by Acehnese fishermen and taken to a shelter, where they were able to speak to Faisal Rahman, a representative from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Rahman said the survivors’ testimony suggested many had drowned.
“We can’t confirm the exact number of casualties, but according to information from the six who were rescued, there are many dead,” he told Al Jazeera. “They assume about 50 people died when the boat capsized.”
Two women holding a placard reading ‘Boycott Rohingya’. The sign is written in Indonesian.
It is thought that most of those presumed to have died were women and children who were unable to swim, and carried out to sea by the currents.
Amateur footage shot by local fishermen at the scene, which has been widely shared on Indonesian social media, showed survivors standing on the boat’s upturned hull.
They all appeared to be male.
Emaciated and dressed in shorts, they waved at the fishermen and begged to be rescued.
Amiruddin, a fishing community leader in the Aceh Barat district where Kuala Bubon is located, said a search and rescue boat from Indonesia’s National Search and Rescue Agency had been dispatched on Wednesday.
It is unclear why the boat sank, although wooden boats carrying refugees from the camps in Bangladesh are often in poor condition and overcrowded, with only basic facilities on board.
In August 2023, 17 Rohingya refugees died when their boat sank in the Bay of Bengal.
UNHCR’s Rahman said the rescue agency had been unable to find the exact location of the boat on Wednesday night.