The UN refugee agency will provide Rohingya language translators and counselling to determine if they were from the group of 190 Rohingya who were reported to be drifting in a small boat in the Andaman Sea for a month.
A United Nations agency has been seeking information about the voyage of over 100 Rohingya Muslim refugees who landed on an Indonesian beach this week, and warned that there will likely be more.
A distressing video circulated widely on social media showed the dehydrated and exhausted Rohingya, crumpled weakly and emaciated, many crying for help on Monday.
At least 185 men, women and children disembarked from a rickety wooden boat at dusk on Ujong Pie beach at Muara Tiga, a coastal village in Aceh's Pidie district, said local police chief Fauzi, who goes by a single name.
“They are very weak because of dehydration and exhaustion after weeks at sea,” Fauzi said.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is trying to determine if they were from a group of 190 Rohingya who were reported by the UN to be drifting in a small boat in the Andaman Sea for a month.
Muhammad Rafki Syukri, the Protection Associate at UNHCR said the agency will provide Rohingya language translators and counselling to the group to determine this.
READ MORE: UN: At least 180 Rohingya adrift at sea feared dead
Rohingya movement expected to grow
“With prolonged conflict and insecure situations in their country of origin, it is possible that the movement of refugees to find safe places will continue to grow,” he said.
Chris Lewa, the director of the Arakan Project, which works in support of Myanmar’s Rohingya, confirmed on Tuesday that the boat that landed on Ujong Pie beach was from the group of 190 Rohingya.
Lewa said arrivals were among five groups of Rohingya refugees that had left Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh in late November by smaller boats to avoid detection by local coast guards before they were transferred onto five larger boats for their respective journeys.
The fourth and fifth boats "finally landed in northern part of Aceh, Indonesia, early on Sunday and late afternoon on Monday,” Lewa said, after weeks of her organisation pleading with south and southeast Asian countries to help.
One of the refugees who spoke some Malay and identified himself as Rosyid, said they left a camp in Bangladesh at the end of November and drifted on the open sea.
He said at least “20 of us died aboard due to high waves and sick, and their bodies were thrown into the sea.”
But Syukri said the UNHCR could not verify the origins information and was still coordinating with governments in the region.
“But we will continue to search for further information to ensure the actual data," Syukri told reporters on Tuesday while visiting the Rohingya refugees at a school that was closed for the holiday season in Muara Tiga village.
READ MORE: UN urges states to save Rohingya refugees adrift in the Andaman Sea