At the request of the Government of Bangladesh, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and partners in Bangladesh are currently providing shelter and assistance for close to 400 Rohingya refugee survivors who disembarked from a boat in the Bay of Bengal on Thursday morning. We understand from those on-board that around 30 more refugees may have passed away at sea as the boat ran out of food, water and fuel during a nearly two-month long journey at sea.
The survivors include a large number of women and children. They are all in weak physical condition, many are dehydrated and malnourished and in need of immediate medical attention. The group has been moved to designated medical facilities in Nayapara and Ukhiya where they are receiving medical attention and other assistance.
In line with established procedures and in adherence with Government Directives for all individuals entering Bangladesh, they will all receive a full medical screening and will be monitored and quarantined for the next two weeks. Despite some media reports claiming that the group may be infected with COVID-19, there is currently no evidence to substantiate these reports.
Controlled, managed and predictable procedures for new arrivals ensures that any risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus is mitigated and that communities are protected, including the Rohingya refugees from the boat who remain in an extremely vulnerable condition.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
- In Cox’s Bazar, Louise Donovan, email@example.com, +880 18 4732 7279
- In Bangkok, Catherine Stubberfield, firstname.lastname@example.org, +66 65 929 8062
- In Geneva, Andrej Mahecic, email@example.com, +41 79 642 97 09
Originally published by UNHCR on 16 April 2020