In the Andaman Sea, off Thailand's coast, reporters from The New York Times spotted a fishing boat carrying 400 migrants from Myanmar on Thursday. Malaysia had apparently turned away the boat.
"We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this," Malaysia's Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi told The Associated Press. "We have to send the right message that they are not welcome here."
The boat is one of many carrying migrants who are stranded at sea, with no countries in the region willing to accept them. The Times estimates that between 6,000 and 20,000 migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh are adrift in Southeast Asia, with little water or food. Migrants from Myanmar are fleeing ethnic persecution, while those from Bangladesh are trying to escape poverty, the Times explains.
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The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, meanwhile, is asking local governments to conduct search and rescue procedures. Jeffrey Savage, a senior protection officer for the refugee agency, told the Times that the migrant situation is "a potential humanitarian disaster."
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