Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says he has ordered the navy and the coast guard to conduct search and rescue operations for boats carrying Rohingya migrants stranded at sea.
“We have to prevent loss of life,” Najib said in a tweet.
Malaysia and Indonesia agreed on Wednesday to provide temporary refuge to thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, while Thailand said it will provide humanitarian assistance and won’t turn away boats who wish to enter its waters.
A spokesman for the International Organization for Migration says more than 400 Rohingya and Bangladeshis who were brought to shore in the Indonesian province of Aceh are in “very, very bad shape.”
Joe Lowry says the migrants who spent months at sea are in worse state than we would have expected. He says no one is being rushed to the hospital and no one has died, but the people are very sick, dehydrated, malnourished and traumatized.
He says they landed Wednesday in a remote area of Aceh province and spent the night in tents.
They are getting treatment, including IV drips to get rehydrated, plus vitamins and food.
Lowry welcomed a decision by the United States to take in some of the migrants.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said earlier that the U.S. has resettled more 1,000 Rohingya since last October and is prepared to take a leading role in any multinational efforts to resettle the most vulnerable refugees.
(READ MORE: US, Gambia offer to resettle Rohingya migrants)