(Reuters) – Malaysia and Indonesia said on Wednesday they would offer shelter to 7,000 “boat people” adrift at sea in rickety boats but made clear their assistance was temporary and they would take no more.
More than 3,000 migrants have landed so far this month in Malaysia and Indonesia. Together with Thailand, they have pushed away many boats that approached their shores despite appeals from the United Nations to take them in.
In a joint statement in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Indonesia emphasized that the international community also had a responsibility to help them deal with the crisis.
The migrants are mostly Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladeshis – men, women and children who fled persecution and poverty at home or were abducted by traffickers, and now face sickness and starvation at sea.