Hundreds of migrants believed to be Rohingya refugees from Myanmar were rescued from two wooden boats off the coast of Indonesia’s northern Aceh province.
The boats were carrying nearly 600 people including 100 women and dozens of children when they ran out of fuel, Reuters reported Monday.
The vessels were towed to shore by fishermen.
“According to the information we have so far, the people on board are from Myanmar. They are Muslim, from the Rohingya community,” said Mohammed Arif Mutaqin, spokesman for the Aceh Search and Rescue Agency.
Some of the migrants, who left Thailand a week ago, died during the journey, authorities said.
Of those rescued, 50 were taken to hospital.
“In general, they were suffering from starvation and many were very thin,” said North Aceh police chief Achmadi.
An estimated 25,000 Rohingyas and Bangladeshis boarded people-smugglers’ boats in the first three months of this year, twice as many in the same period of 2014, the United Nations agency UNHCR said on Friday.
An agency official estimated that around 300 people had died at sea in the first quarter of this year as a result of starvation, dehydration and abuse by boat crews.
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