At least 100 Rohingya are stranded in a boat off India’s Andaman Islands and as many as 16-20 may have died of thirst and hunger or have drowned, their relatives and activists said.

The stranded boat was approached by five Indian ships late on Tuesday, a source told Reuters news agency.

Priyali Sur, an activist in New Delhi who advocates for the rights of refugees, told that the situation on the boat is “getting worse and worse”.

“I contacted the people on the boat on December 7, that is when they said two children had died. We got unconfirmed reports of some more deaths as two people out of desperation jumped into the water,”

“It has been 25 days that they have been in the sea. They have run out of food and drinking water.” she added

The Rohingya are a mostly muslim majority ethnic group who have lived in the majority Buddhist Myanmar for centuries

However, Myanmar doesn't recognise them as an official ethnic group, making them the largest identified stateless community in the world.