UN chief urges Myanmar to halt anti-Rohingya operations
GENEVA – The U.N. migration agency said Friday that more than 60 people are either confirmed dead or missing and presumed dead following the shipwreck of a boat carrying Rohingya Muslims who were fleeing from violence in Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Spokesman Joel Millman of the International Organization for Migration told reporters in Geneva that 23 deaths have been confirmed after eight more bodies were found overnight following an initial count of 15.
Based on interviews that IOM has conducted with survivors, Millman said, âWe believe 40 are missing and presumed drownedâ on the vessel, which was thought to have been carrying about 80 people. He said he didnât have information immediately about whether it was the worst death toll at sea since the exodus of Rohingya began Aug. 25 amid violence targeting them in Myanmar.
More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since then.
The âvery tragicâ accident involved a vessel that had been at sea for two days with no food and had faced choppy seas, Millman said. The Bangladeshi captain had not initially charged the passengers any fee for the transport and had been trying to avoid sea patrols or checkpoints, he said.
âThe details are absolutely astonishing and remarkable,â Millman said. âAt one point, he (the captain) chose to anchor the vessel, but that proved to be a fatal mistake as the rough seas were much worse than he supposed. This was easily within…