A second boat carrying hundreds of asylum seekers from Myanmar and Bangladesh has been rescued off Indonesia’s far west coast, an official said on Monday, less than a day after nearly 600 others arrived in a wooden vessel seeking refuge.
“Our search and rescue team found another boat with more than 400 migrants, Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshis, drifting off the waters off east Aceh early this morning,” Aceh provincial search and rescue chief Budiawan told AFP.
He said authorities believed there could be more boats arriving, with fishermen assisting in patrolling the waters off Aceh.
“We are on standby and ready to rescue them when we receive an alert,” he said.
Nearly 1,000 asylum seekers are now receiving food and medical treatment in shelters, clinics and the homes of local people across Aceh.
Authorities on Monday revised up the number of people aboard the first boat that was rescued over the weekend to 573.
A Muslim Rohingya, Jahangir Hussin, told local journalists that traffickers had abandoned them at sea with little fuel. The migrants boarded the boat in Thailand en route to Malaysia, but drifted toward the Indonesian coast when their boat ran out of fuel, he added.
Thousands of Muslim Rohingya have braved the dangerous sea crossing from Myanmar to southern Thailand and beyond in recent years.