Dozens of Rohingya feared dead or missing after boat capsized off Indonesia

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Dozens of Rohingya feared dead or missing after boat capsized off Indonesia

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) announced on Friday that dozens of Rohingya refugees are believed to be dead or missing after a boat carrying around 150 people sank this week off the westernmost coast of Indonesia.

UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told AFP that for the 151 people who haven't been saved yet, there is concern that they may have perished or vanished from sight.

Hopefully, if they are still alive anywhere, they will be rescued by tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, Indonesian rescuers canceled their search for any remaining Rohingya refugees who went missing at sea, even though several of the survivors said that scores of individuals had been washed away.

According to Pawang Amiruddin, secretary-general of the West Aceh fishing community, survivors estimated that there were "around 150 people on the boat" while speaking with AFP over the phone on Wednesday.

In a joint statement released on Friday, the UNHCR and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) expressed their astonishment and great worry about the situation following the capsize of the boat, which occurred 16 nautical miles (30 kilometers) off the coast of West Aceh.

According to the joint statement, "If confirmed, this would be the largest death toll of the year thus far.

Authorities carried out a spectacular rescue of 69 Rohingya on Thursday; several of them were discovered clinging to the overturned boat's hull. The group had been floating at sea for weeks prior to the capsize.

The UNHCR reports that 1,752 refugees—mostly women and children—arrived in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra between mid-November and late-January.

According to the UN agency, it was the largest inflow into the nation with a majority of Muslims since 2015.