At least 12 Rohingya refugees died Sunday after a boat carrying an estimated 35 people capsized in the Naf river, which separates Myanmar and Bangladesh, AP reports. According to Border Guard Bangladesh official Abdul Jalil, who spoke with AFP, 10 of the dead are children.
Other estimates put the number of refugees on board as high as 100 people, many of whom are women and children. As of this writing, the number of missing remains unclear.
As ethnic violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority continues unabated — with villages razed, women raped, and an estimated 1,000 killed — more than half of the Rohingya population has now fled the country.
In September, humanitarian groups such as the Migrant Offshore Aid Organization sent rescue boats to the Bay of Bengal, where an estimated 112,000 Rohingyas crossed between 2012 and 2015, according to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. This came after more than 20 were killed while attempting the crossing by raft in August.
Sunday’s tragic accident took place near the Shah Porir Dwip, at the very tip of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar region, where most Rohingya refugees have settled, per reports.
Rohingya refugees, an ethnic and religious minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, are stuck between two humanitarian crises — one in Myanmar and the other in Bangladesh.
In Myanmar, 40% of Rohingya villages are completely empty, according to CNN, as residents flee what French president Emmanuel Macron called a “genocide” and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai referred to as “tragic and shameful treatment” of the Rohingya minority by the country’s military and police forces. The violence stems from conflict between Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
As more refugees flee Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh, the situation on the ground in that country has also deteriorated.