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Malaysia orders a rescue plan for migrants

Malaysia orders a rescue plan for migrants

Malaysia's prime minister said Thursday he has ordered the navy and the coast guard to comb the sea to look for stranded migrants, the first country to announce it will search for the refugees in desperate need of help instead of waiting for them to wash up on Southeast Asia's shores.

Myanmar, the country that should be blamed for refugee crisis, said it will attend a regional meeting in Bangkok next Friday, creating a chance for the nations most affected by the crisis to discuss long-term solutions. Earlier, it hinted it would skip the meeting, which will bring together more than a dozen governments from the region and beyond. The decision came as Malaysia's foreign minister was scheduled to visit Myanmar.

In the past three weeks, more than 3,000 people — Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis trying to escape poverty — have landed in overcrowded boats on the shores of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. After initially pushing many boats back, Malaysia and Indonesia announced on Wednesday that they will offer temporary shelter to all incoming migrants.

In Washington, the State Department said Wednesday the United States was also willing to take in Rohingya refugees as part of international efforts to cope with the crisis. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said that the U.S. is prepared to take a leading role in any multicountry effort, organized by the United Nations refugee agency, to resettle the most vulnerable refugees.

Updated : 2021-09-25 20:03 GMT+08:00