430 Migrants Rescued By Fishermen After Four Months At Sea

About 430 migrants who had been stranded at sea for four months have been rescued. Indonesia and Malaysia offered Wednesday to temporarily take in thousands of people who have been stranded at sea, and the two countries appealed for international help. They say the crisis is a global problem instead of a regional one, according to Yahoo! News.

“After weeks of saying the migrants were not welcome, Indonesian fishermen brought the weak and hungry people ashore to the eastern province of Aceh.”

One of the fishermen, 40-year-old Razali Puteh, who helped with the rescue, said he began to weep when he saw the migrants and heard them screaming for help.

“As we came close, I was shocked. I saw them crammed onto the boat. It left me speechless and I broke down in tears as I watched them screaming, waving their hands and clothes. People from the boat began jumping into the water trying to reach him, but the fisherman told them to stay put and then returned with other fishing boats.”

The migrants brought ashore Wednesday in Indonesia were rescued by more than a dozen fishing boats. Puteh said he could not let them die because they are also human beings just like he is.

One of the migrants, Ubaydul Haque, 30, said the ship’s engine had failed and the captain fled, and that they were at sea for four months before the Indonesian fishermen found them.

Rescuing this group of migrants doesn’t solve the problem. Aid groups estimate that thousands more are still stranded at sea, following a crackdown on human traffickers that prompted captains and smugglers to abandon their boats.

This is not the first time a rescue has been made. An initial batch of 102 people was the first to be rescued and brought to shore in the Aceh village of Simpang Tiga. Included in that group were 26 women and 31 children. They were suffering from dehydration, and they were weak and starving.

On Wednesday, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to offer temporary shelter provided that the settlement will be done in one year by the international community. Thailand has said it cannot afford to take more migrants because it is already overburdened by tens of thousands of refugees.

The UNHCR, the U.S. refugee agency, estimated there are some 4,000 migrants still at sea with few supplies. The number could be as high as 6,000.

International Business Times reported that Indonesia agrees to shelter those still stranded in the Andaman Sea. An estimated 8,000 migrants are thought to be adrift, but other estimates have put that number as high as 20,000.

[Image via Getty Images]