Myanmar migrants stranded on sea drinking own urine

Hundreds of Myanmar migrants stranded on a boat for a week in the Andaman Sea with no food or water are so desperate they are drinking their own urine.
The fishing boat, carrying about 350 people of the Muslim Rohingya minority, has been refused entry to Thailand.
Those on board told the BBC the crew abandoned them and disabled the engine. They said 10 people had died – their bodies were thrown overboard.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have been turning away migrant boats.
Several thousand people are still believed to be stuck in boats off the coasts of Thailand and Malaysia.
Most are Rohingya Muslims who cannot go back to Myanmar, also known as Burma, where they are not recognised as citizens of the country and are regularly persecuted.
The BBC’s Jonathan Head reports from alongside the vessel off the southern coast of Thailand that it is a “desperate sight”.
He said: “People are calling out to us begging us for food and water.
“There are a lot of women and children on board. This is a very old-looking fishing boat that’s completely packed with people.
“We can see there are actually people drinking their own urine from bottles. We’ve been throwing them bottles of water – everything we’ve got on board.”
He said blankets had been tied up to try and provide some shelter from the sun. The average maximum temperature is 34C.
People on board have said the trawler was abandoned by its crew and left anchored near the Thai-Malaysian border.
On Wednesday night Thai fishing boats found the boat and it was towed into Malaysian waters.
It was then towed back to Thai waters and is awaiting the arrival of the Thai navy, our correspondent reports.
The migrants – including 50 women and 84 children – have been at sea for two months, but their situation only became critical once their crew abandoned the boat and left them without a working engine.
Rohingyas are a distinct, Muslim ethnic group mainly living in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
Unwanted people
Thailand has launched a crackdown to disrupt people smuggler networks since the discovery of dozens of bodies in abandoned camps along regular trafficking routes.
As many as 8,000 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar are believed by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to be stranded at sea.
People smugglers are reportedly refusing to land their boats because they do not want to follow their usual route through Thailand since the government’s campaign against them began.
A senior Thai official told Reuters news agency on Wednesday that Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia would all continue to turn the boats away.
Major General Werachon Sukhondhapatipak said that the three countries had decided “not to receive boat people”.
On Sunday and Monday more than 2,000 migrants arrived in Malaysia or Indonesia after being rescued or swimming ashore.
The journey the migrants take – from Bangladesh or Myanmar through the Bay of Bengal to Thailand or beyond – takes several weeks. They have been slowed further by the refugees effectively being held hostage in many cases by smugglers.

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