Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Fresh wave of Rohingya refugees arrive south of Phuket
PHUKET: An estimated 200 Rohingya refugees landed on Koh Racha Noi this morning, as reports simultaneously flooded in of another convoy, carrying about 180 men, women and children, coming ashore at Koh Phra Thong on the Phang Nga coast.
“We have received reports of about 200 men, women and children travelling in two open boats landing on Koh Racha Noi,” an officer of the Royal Thai Navy confirmed to the Phuket Gazette.
An estimated 200 Rohingya refugees landed on the uninhabited island of Koh Racha Noi, 25 kilometers south of Phuket, this morning. Photo: Royal Thai Navy
“We have also received reports that another 180 Rohingya have landed on Koh Phra Thong, in Phang Nga,” the officer added.
Rawai Deputy Mayor Nikorn Foosaksomboon told the Gazette that his office is dispatching a boat to Koh Racha Noi with basic provisions and water to render assistance to the refugees.
“We will be sending medical officers as soon as we can to make sure they are okay,” he added.
Racha Noi lies about 25 kilometers south of Phromthep Cape, Phuket’s southernmost tip. The island is a popular day-trip destination for Phuket tourists to snorkel and scuba dive.
The news of more Rohingya landing along the Andaman seaboard comes as immigration facilities in Phang Nga are already overloaded by the huge influx of Rohingya in recent weeks.
Officials have been forced to relocate hundreds of Rohingya to immigration centers in other provinces across Southern Thailand (story here).
State news agency MCOT reported yesterday that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought clarification from a variety of agencies on the plight and options for the well over 1,000 Rohingya migrants currently in Thai custody (story here).
Commission member Niran Pitakvachara said the Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand, led by Vinai Salem, recently petitioned the agency to help prevent the repatriation of Rohingya migrants to Myanmar, their country of origin.
A total of 1,486 Rohingya ethnic people have been detained at various shelters in Southern Thailand. Among them, 264 are women and children, said the MCOT report.
Additional reporting by Chutharat Plerin
Source: Phuket Gazette