Langsa, Indonesia | AFP | Sunday 5/24/2015 - 04:48 GMT
by Olivia Rondonuwu
Beneath the swaying banana trees, there is nothing but a few plants to mark the resting place of three-year-old Shahira Bibi and the horror of the final weeks of her short life, at sea on a migrant boat.
When the tiny Rohingya girl from Myanmar was finally rescued from the sinking vessel off Indonesia's western Aceh province, her body was already wracked with spasms and weighed no more than a six-month-old baby.
Jakarta, Indonesia | AFP | Sunday 5/24/2015 - 03:46 GMT
Indonesia has begun search and rescue operations for stranded migrant boats carrying Bangladeshis and ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, an official said Sunday, after it dropped a hardline policy of refusing them sanctuary.
Jakarta sparked international outrage by turning away vessels filled with desperate migrants, among thousands stranded at sea since a Thai crackdown on human-trafficking in early May threw the illicit trade into chaos.
Hunger is a huge issue in Bangladesh. Please help WFP raise awareness by sharing the following ten hunger facts:
1) Undernutrition costs Bangladesh more than USD 1 billion in lost productivity every year, and even more in health care costs.
2) 41 percent of children (approx. 7 milllion) under the age of five are chronically undernourished; they are too short for their age, a condition known as stunting.
By Alisa Tang
BANGKOK, May 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Resettling asylum seekers who are among the thousands of boat people in temporary shelters in Indonesia and Malaysia will prove "extremely difficult" due to the mounting refugee crises around the world, a U.N. official said.
Read the full article on AlertNet
Yangon, Myanmar | AFP | Saturday 5/23/2015 - 09:06 GMT
by Hla-Hla HTAY
A group of migrants recently rescued by Myanmar will be deported to Bangladesh, officials confirmed Saturday, as the United Nations chief called on regional nations to prioritise saving the lives of those still stranded at sea.
Southeast Asia is currently battling an exodus of boat people fleeing persecution and poverty, with up to 2,000 vulnerable migrants thought to be stranded in the Bay of Bengal, many at the mercy of ruthless people smugglers.
Recent months have seen thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi people, fleeing difficult living conditions in their home countries, take to the seas aboard makeshift boats. Since the closure of the Malaysian border a few days ago, they have been trapped at sea, often in appalling conditions. But who are these people, and what exactly are they trying to escape? Christophe Vavasseur, Solidarités International’s Asia Desk Manager, offers some insight.
Who are these "boat people", adrift at sea?
Over the last week, the world has been following the tragic fate of thousands of migrants drifting in the Andaman Sea after being abandoned by ruthless human traffickers. Many of these desperate migrants are Rohingya, a muslim minority from Myanmar who have been fleeing persecution back home – where they are not recognised as citizens.
This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.
UNHCR welcomes the landing today of more than 200 people who had been stranded at sea off the coast of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Following their disembarkation, they were taken to a reception centre in southern Maungdaw where they are receiving immediate assistance.
Indonesia - The migrant crisis in Southeast Asia has entered a new phase, with over half of those originally estimated to be at sea now on dry land, some for the first time in almost four months.
IOM welcomed the positive statement made by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand on Wednesday (20/5), but says there is still much to be done.
Turkey’s initiatives at the regional and international level continue in order to ensure a rapid response to the tragedy of thousands of Rohingyas and Bengalis, who, as they were being taken from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Indonesia and Thailand by human traffickers, were stranded in the Andaman Sea in their boats.
In this context, we have pledged 1 million US dollars to the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to be used for humanitarian assistance to the Rohingyas and Bengalis.
Sittwe, Myanmar | AFP | Friday 5/22/2015 - 09:48 GMT
By Kelly MACNAMARA / Hla-Hla HTAY
Myanmar's navy Friday said it had carried out its first rescue of a migrant boat after mounting international pressure, as the UN warned the impending monsoon rains imperil thousands still stranded at sea.
"A navy ship found two boats... on May 21 while on patrol," Tin Maung Swe, a senior official in the western state of Rakhine told AFP, adding "about 200 Bengalis were on one of the boats".
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand met in Putrajaya, Malaysia on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 to discuss the issue of irregular movement of people into Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. This is with a view to finding a solution to the crisis of influx of irregular migrants and its serious impact on the national security of the affected countries.
They agreed to resolve this issue in keeping with the spirit of unity and solidarity of ASEAN as well as the aspiration to have a people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN.
Over 2 million people died from natural disasters between 1970 and 2014 in Asia and the Pacific, or 56.6 per cent of the fatalities globally. Earthquakes and tsunamis were the main cause of deaths, despite their relatively infrequent occurrences.
6 billion people from the region were affected by disasters over the same period, or 87.6 per cent of people affected globally. Floods and drought were not the deadliest disasters but affected the highest number of people at 5 billion.
Amrai Pari (Together we can do it)is a reality TV show that reaches 15.8 million people. It aims to help communities in Bangladesh increase their resilience against environmental hazards. Our research revealed that Amrai Pari encourages communities to work together, provides new information and helps them to adopt new resilience-enhancing skills.
KUALA LUMPUR, MAY 21, 2015- MERCY Malaysia has begun providing relief aid to the Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees in the Belantik detention centre, Kedah, northern Peninsular Malaysia.
In a statement made today by MERCY Malaysia’s President, Dato' Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus said “We have conducted an assessment inside the camp, and have concentrated our aid in two main areas which are health and medical aid as well as essential non-food items”.
Human smuggling from the Bangladesh-Myanmar borderland cannot be effectively tackled by short-term quick-fixes. For a sustainable solution, both Bangladesh and Myanmar have to take effective action against human trafficking through building their institutional capacity and addressing the socio-economic causes behind human smuggling.
Sittwe, Myanmar | AFP | Thursday 5/21/2015 - 21:22 GMT
by Kelly MACNAMARA
Malaysia ordered search and rescue missions Thursday for thousands of boatpeople stranded at sea, as Myanmar hosted talks with US and Southeast Asian envoys on the migrant exodus from its shores.
The rescue order, which is the first proactive official move to save the thousands of persecuted Muslim Rohingya and Bangladeshi economic migrants believed currently to be adrift, comes a day after Malaysia and Indonesia said they would end a policy of turning away boats.
IHH and its partner organization PKPU in Indonesia started giving away hot meals and medications to the refugees from Arakan.
Fishermen from Aceh rescued around thousand Rohingya Muslims, who were left adrift at sea by the human smugglers last week. Rohingyas are offered shelter in a camp set up by the local government in Aceh. It is reported that the camps currently accommodate around 1,500 refugees.
The decision by Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to reverse an appalling policy of turning back boats carrying refugees and vulnerable migrants is a step in the right direction – but falls far short of the measures urgently needed to save thousands of lives still at risk at sea, or to address the root causes of the crisis, Amnesty International said.
UNHCR welcomes the commitment announced today by the Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to resolve the issue of the thousands of refugees and migrants stranded in boats in the Bay of Bengal and off the coast of Southeast Asia. This is an important initial step in the search for solutions to this issue, and vital for the purpose of saving lives.
It is now urgent for people to be brought ashore without delay, and that immediate first aid and other care is provided for all who are in need. We look forward to seeing this happen without delay.