UNHCR warns delays in rescue in Andaman Sea and Strait of Malacca are costing human lives

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply dismayed that repeated calls to rescue and safely disembark people stranded on boats in the Andaman Sea and Strait of Malacca are not being heeded. It warns that inaction from States to save lives is resulting in more human misery and tragedies, each passing day.  

UNHCR remains deeply concerned about the dire condition of a boat in distress off the coast of Indonesia carrying up to 200 Rohingya refugees, including women and children. The boat has been adrift at sea since late November and is now reportedly in waters around the Strait of Malacca.

Several reports indicate dozens of people have already died during this ordeal, while survivors are hungry and thirsty without access to food and water and suffering from sickness.

UNHCR repeats its appeal to all responsible States to rescue those on the boat and allow them to safely disembark in line with legal obligations and humanitarian traditions. Quick action is needed to save lives and avoid further deaths.

The UN Refugee Agency and humanitarian partners are ready to continue their support to the respective States in conducting screening and documentation of rescued individuals, and to provide them with basic assistance and protection.

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