At least four Rohingya were killed Tuesday when their boat sank off the coast of Bangladesh, police said, just hours after three babies drowned as they reached shore in a separate incident.
At least 200 Rohingya have drowned since late August making the treacherous sea crossing from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Police said the three babies fell into the water as their boat reached shore in the town of Teknaf on Monday evening.
Two of the children were dropped from their mothers’ laps,” Teknaf police chief Main Uddin told AFP. “The children were aged between three and 10 months.”
The other four victims drowned when their boat sank in rough weather on Tuesday morning as it neared the Bangladesh coast.
“There were at least 33 people in the small trawler, which capsized after it was caught in high waves,” local police chief Abul Khair told AFP.
He said one person was found dead at the scene while six others were rushed to hospital in critical condition. Three of them later died.
The rest were dragged ashore or managed to swim to safety, Khair added.
People living in the coastal strip south of the Bangladesh port of Cox’s Bazar fished 37 survivors out of the water and 11 have been admitted to hospital in a critical condition, Mohammad Abul Khair, the officer in charge at Ukhiya police station, said.
The boat had keeled over in choppy seas as rain fell. According to survivors they had paid 50,000 kyat (US$37 dollars) to be taken to Bangladesh. They had abandoned their homes in Buthidaung, in the strife-torn north of Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since the military in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar launched a counter-insurgency operation after attacks on security posts by Rohingya militants in late August.
United Nations officials have described the Myanmar military’s action as “ethnic cleansing”, an accusation that Myanmar denies.
Many of the Rohingya refugees have made the precarious sea and river crossing to reach the safety of predominately Muslim Bangladesh, though dozens have drowned making the attempt. (ChannelNewsAsia)