Jakarta – A Rohingya refugee in Aceh died of a respiratory illness on Friday, only a day after two other refugees died of similar causes.
Lhokseumawe city public relations head Marzuki said the refugee, a 19-year-old named Senowara, was admitted to Cut Meutia General Hospital (RSUCM) in North Aceh after complaining of high fever and breathing difficulties.
Marzuki could not yet confirm whether or not she contracted COVID-19. "We've taken her swab sample, but the result has not come back yet," Marzuki said on Friday as reported by kompas.com.
Senowara was laid to rest in Kuta Blang Cemetery, Lhokseumawe, on Friday.
Marzuki said four other Rohingya refugees, all of whom complained of a high temperature and shortness of breath, were currently being treated at RSUCM.
"All of their medical bills were paid for by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]," he said.
A total of 296 Rohingya refugees arrived in Aceh on Monday after reportedly being at sea for six months. They were spotted by local fishers several kilometers off the coast of Lhokseumawe.
Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid urged the government to ensure that the refugees received sufficient food, shelter and essential health services, as well as protection from COVID-19 infection.
Marzuki said he did not know how long the refugees would stay at a temporary shelter that they were sent to. The shelter is a vocational training center in Mee village, Muara Dua district, North Aceh.
"I have not yet received information on how long they will stay here. We're waiting for the decision from the UNHCR and the central government. The authority lies in the central government," he said. (nal)