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Malaysia, Indonesia to Let ‘Boat People’ Come Ashore Temporarily

An ethnic Rohingya boy carries a plate in his hands as he walks past migrants queuing up for their meals during breakfast time at a temporary shelter in Lapang, Aceh province, Indonesia, Thursday, May 14, 2015. More than 1,600 migrants and refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh have landed on the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia in the past week and thousands more are believed to have been abandoned at sea, floating on boats with little or no food after traffickers literally jumped ship fearing a crackdown. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
An ethnic Rohingya boy carries a plate in his hands as he walks past migrants queuing up for their meals during breakfast time at a temporary shelter in Lapang, Aceh province, Indonesia, Thursday, May 14, 2015. More than 1,600 migrants and refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh have landed on the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia in the past week and thousands more are believed to have been abandoned at sea, floating on boats with little or no food after traffickers literally jumped ship fearing a crackdown. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

 

(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.

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