US concerns over Myanmar refugee crisis

US expresses concerns about situation of Myanmar refugees abandoned by smugglers in sea

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The US has worries as to hundreds of Rohingya refugees who stranded at sea as fleeing to neighbouring countries.

State Department Spokesman, Jeff Rathke expressed US concerns about the humanitarian crisis in the Bay of Bengal and emphasised the importance of supplying protection and assistance for confined migrants.

Two days before Malaysia and Indonesia refused entrance of migrants who were abandoned by smugglers on Sunday as hundreds of them have been left to their fate in the region.

“We know the longer they are at sea, the more their health will degrade. They suffer from vitamin deficiency and will soon look like skeletons," said  Jeff Labovitz, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) chief of mission for Thailand.

The United Nations called for Southeast Asian nations to not repel the refugee boats.

More than 500 Rohingya refugees who needed medical assistance were moved by boats to Indonesia.

"We are concerned by reports of thousands of additional Rohingya migrants on land and at sea in boats and who may need humanitarian protection and assistance," said Jeff Rathke.

Rathke said the US is tracking the situation of refugees and also working together with the governments in the region and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as well as the International Organization for Migration.

Rathke didn't give any information about whether US military will launch an operation to rescue migrants as the humanitarian crisis is worsening day by day.   

Efforts are continuing in the region to eliminate the problems of the refugees. Malaysia announced on Wednesday, it will hold a multilateral meeting with Bangladesh and Myanmar. Thailand will also organise a meeting with 15 affected countries on May 29.

TRTWorld and agencies