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Jakarta Post

Rohingya refugee landing in Aceh dies of respiratory illness

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, September 10, 2020   /   08:41 am
Rohingya refugee landing in Aceh dies of respiratory illness Ninety-four Rohingya refugees, comprising 15 men, 49 women and 30 children, were found stranded on a boat 4 miles from the coast of Seunuddon in North Aceh regency, Aceh, on June 24. (Antara/Nova Wahyudi)

Midshalimah, 21, a Rohingya refugee who was among hundreds who arrived in Aceh early on Monday, has reportedly died from some form of respiratory illness.

Lhokseumawe city public relations head Marzuki said on Wednesday that Midshalimah had complained of shortness of breath upon landing at Ujong Blang Beach in Lhokseumawe just after midnight.

She and the others were taken to a temporary shelter at the vocational training center (BLK) in Mee village, Muara Dua district, North Aceh.

“She was given medical treatment there, before being admitted to Cut Meutia General Hospital in North Aceh by ambulance. She died in the hospital,” Marzuki said as quoted by kompas.com.

Midshalimah was buried at the Kuta Blang public cemetery in Lhokseumawe, he added.

Midshalimah and 296 other Rohingya refugees had reportedly been at sea for six months before arriving in Aceh on Monday. They were spotted by local fishermen several kilometers off the coast of Lhokseumawe.

Read also: Almost 300 Rohingya refugees arrive in Indonesia's Aceh province

A 13-year-old was also reportedly sick that day and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Their arrival on Monday came following that of more than 100 Rohingya refugees rescued by Acehnese fishermen in late June, after Indonesian authorities had initially threatened to push them back.

Fleeing persecution in Myanmar and refugee camps in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugees have for years boarded boats in an attempt to seek refuge in other Southeast Asian nations.

Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid has urged the government to ensure that the refugees get sufficient food, shelter and essential health services, as well as protection from COVID-19 infection.

“Rohingya refugees are still willing to risk everything in search of safety. Their testimonies, once again, show how perilous these boat journeys can be. Survivors said dozens among the group had died,” Usman said on Monday.

“It is appalling that the Indonesian authorities are waiting for local fishermen to take the initiative in carrying out these rescues. The government, not private individuals, should have saved these lives.” (syk)