Illustrative photo (Photo: AFP)

Hanoi (VNA)
– At least 21 people including nine children died after a boat capsized off the coast of Myanmar’s Rakhine state on April 19, said Pierre Peron, spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in Myanmar.

The boat was carrying some 60 passengers to a local market, he said, adding that the majority were from the Pauktaw Township’s Sin Tet Maw camp housing Rohingya ethnic people.

Paukaw is surrounded by rivers that feed into the sea and people from their camps can only reach markets in coastal Sittwe, the state capital several dozen kilometres away, by boat.

The number of fatalities was expected to rise as many of the passengers remained unaccounted for, the UN spokesman said.

An official from Rakhine’s security and border affairs ministry confirmed that most of the victims are Rohingya.-VNA