Asia boat migrants: UN despair over lack of rescues

Arifa
By May 19, 2015 02:09

Asia boat migrants: UN despair over lack of rescues

The UN has condemned the refusal of South-East Asian countries to rescue thousands of migrants adrift at sea.

At least 700 Bangladeshis and Rohingya from Myanmar were rescued off Aceh last week by locals, bringing the numbers in camps there to at least 1,500.

UNHCR spokeswoman Vivian Tan said the lack of rescues over the weekend was a “bad sign”.

Aid agencies say a grave humanitarian crisis is in train as countries in the region refuse to accept the migrants.

People on the boats are believed to be severely malnourished. Survivors who have made it to shore say there have been deadly fights on board over food.

Ms Tan warned that “time is running out” to help the migrants.

“We were hoping that more ships would be found, and that more people would be rescued and allowed to come onto shore. Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to have happened,” she said.

Local people move rescued migrants to shelter in Aceh, Indonesia (15 May 2015)

Many of the rescued people were in urgent need of help after weeks at sea without proper food or water

The Indonesian authorities have told fishermen not to help the migrants – unless their boats are sinking or they are in the water.

Military spokesperson Fuad Basya said fishermen could deliver food, fuel and water to the boats, or help with repairs, but that bringing them to shore would constitute an illegal entry into Indonesia.

Some fishermen in Indonesia’s Aceh province had told the BBC that they were not allowed to help migrants even if they were drowning.

Thousands of people – mostly Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, but also Bangladeshis looking for work – are thought to be stranded out at sea.

Note:Changes have been made,BBC News is not responsible for these.

Source:BBC News.

 

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Arifa
By May 19, 2015 02:09

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