UN agency seeks help to find Rohingya boat adrift at sea

The U.N. refugee agency is appealing to Southeast Asian nations to rescue ethnic Muslim Rohingya who are on a boat that broke down and is drifting in the Andaman Sea

UNHCR said it had alerted authorities in states surrounding the Andaman Sea and appealed for help to find the vessel and disembark the refugees. It said it is ready to provide humanitarian assistance and quarantine measures if the boat is found.

“The fact that refugees and migrants continue to undertake fatal journeys accentuates the need for immediate and collective regional response to search, rescue and disembarkation," it added.

More than a million Rohingya who fled waves of violent persecution in Myanmar are living in overcrowded, squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Muslim-dominated Malaysia has been a common destination of boats arranged by traffickers who promise the refugees a better life abroad.