UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has welcomed the life-saving disembarkation of approximately 300 Rohingya refugees off the northern coast of Aceh, Indonesia early Monday.
Having survived some seven months at sea in desperate conditions, an unknown number are in need of medical attention, said the UN agency.
Among the group, 2 of 3 are women and children. Over 30 are estimated to have died en route, said UNHCR Director for Asia and the Pacific, Indrika Ratwatte.
Approximately 330 Rohingya refugees are understood to have embarked on the journey in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in February, said Indrika Ratwatte.
Their hazardous ordeal has been prolonged by the collective unwillingness of states to act for more than six months.
Equally, the Bali Process, as the only existing regional coordination mechanism able to convene states on such maritime movements, has failed to deliver comprehensive, regional action to predictably save lives through rescue and disembarkation.
The group had repeatedly tried to disembark over the course of more than 200 days at sea, to no avail. Refugees have reported that dozens passed away throughout the journey.
UNHCR and others have repeatedly warned of dire consequences if refugees at sea are not permitted to land in a safe and expedient manner. Ultimately, inaction over the past six months has been fatal.
UNHCR staff in Aceh are supporting local authorities to assess the needs of the refugees.
The immediate priority is providing first aid and medical care as required. All will be tested for COVID-19 in accordance with standard health measures in Indonesia for all arrivals.
At the time of the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal crisis 5 years ago, Bali Process states acknowledged the need for a reliable and collective response to this genuinely regional challenge.
Having created a mechanism to convene governments from across the region for precisely this purpose, the promise of that commitment remains unfulfilled.
A comprehensive and fair response necessarily requires responsibility-sharing and concrete efforts across South East Asia, so that those who permit disembarkation and bring those in distress ashore do not carry a disproportionate burden.
Also read: 300 Rohingyas found on beach in Indonesia
Bangladesh has sent a total of 3,360 kgs glassware to Lebanon as emergency aid, responding to a request from the country.
Under a joint initiative by the government and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), a special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines recently carried those goods to Lebanon, said a press release.
The Lebanese government expressed its gratitude in this regard.
Lebanon witnessed a massive blast at its capital Beirut on August 4 that left at least 190 people dead.
During the blast, structures of the capital were greatly damaged and door-window glasses were broken in most cases.
To recover the damages, the Lebanese government, through the Bangladesh Embassy in Beirut, asked its Bangladeshi counterpart to send glassware as assistance.
Earlier, Bangladesh sent emergency food and medical equipment to Lebanon following the devastating explosion.
The Chinese Embassy in Dhaka has regretted sending gifts to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on her "fake birthday", mentioning that it was a "mistake" on their part, says an informed source on Sunday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) raised the issue with the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka when they came to know about it, the source told UNB.
A diplomatic source said the Chinese Embassy informed the MoFA that it was a "mistake" on their part because they did not do any research on it and did not understand the sensitivity of the matter.
The Chinese Embassy expressed "apology " for it and assured that they will take care of it, said the source.
The Chinese Embassy informed the MoFA that they have a national policy of reaching out to all leaders of various political parties and they have been doing it for years.
Their office had been sending it to the BNP Chairperson "routinely" and they were not aware of this "fake birthday".
They usually send flowers to all leaders, said the diplomatic source.
Khaleda Zia's birthday is a matter of controversy in Bangladesh as there were four birth dates: August 5, 1944; August 19, 1947; September 5, 1946 and August 15, 1946 - appeared in the media on various occasions.
There were criticisms that the Chinese Embassy sent flowers to Khaleda on her “fake” birthday when the nation was observing the National Mourning Day.
On August 15, the National Mourning Day was observed with due respect and solemnity, marking the 45th anniversary of assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – the architect of the country’s independence -- was assassinated along with most of his family members at the crack of dawn on August 15, 1975 by a cabal of heinous army personnel under a deep-rooted conspiracy against the country and its independence.
His two daughters -- Sheikh Hasina, now the prime minister, and Sheikh Rehana -- survived the massacre as they were abroad at that time.
The Chinese Embassy and Australian High Commission in Dhaka have expressed deep shock at the loss of lives in explosions at a mosque in Narayanganj.
"We are deeply shocked to have learned about the horrible explosions at the Narayanganj’s Talla Baitus Salah Jame Mosque in Fatullah. We mourn the passing of those devoted Muslims and pray for the quickest recovery of the injured," said the Chinese Embassy in a message.
The Embassy extended the deepest condolences to the bereaved families and solidarity to all the victims.
The Australian High Commission also expressed its deepest condolences to the families and friends of all who lost their lives in the tragic explosions at the mosque.
"We wish those injured a speedy recovery," said the High Commission in a message.
The death toll from Narayanganj mosque blast rose to 24 till Sunday afternoon as three more victims died at the Sheikh Hasina National Burn and Plastic Surgery Institute.
Also read: N’ganj mosque blast: Death tally now 24