IOM and UNHCR are closely liaising with Government of Bangladesh’s first responders to the tragic boat capsizing off the coast of St. Martins Island in the Bay of Bengal. The incident happened in the early hours of 11th February, with the authorities initially reporting 15 drowned, and at least 68 receiving first aid.
UNHCR and IOM are saddened by this tragic loss of life and, together with our other UN and NGO partners, are standing by to offer assistance to the Government in responding to the needs of the survivors, be it food, shelter or medical aid.
Irregular boat movements are not new to the Cox’s Bazar district, as both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis risk the unsafe journey to travel abroad due to compelling circumstances. Recognising the dangers they face at sea, the UN has been working with Government authorities to raise awareness among refugees and local people on the risks they may face. The UN is also supporting the strengthening of law enforcement capacities to address smuggling and trafficking and to protect those most at risk. Support is also available in the district to trafficking survivors.