Thailand to lend humanitarian aid while turning away boats

Thailand to lend humanitarian aid while turning away boats
Rohingya migrants pass food supplies dropped by a Thai army helicopter to others aboard a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea.

BANGKOK - Migrants rescued by Thai authorities will be repatriated later, while those who are sick will be given medical treatment, even as Thailand continues to turn away boats filled with migrants found near Thai waters, said its Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc).

"Bodies found in Thai waters will be retrieved and identified. Migrants, regardless of nationality, will be treated based on international humanitarian assistance standards," said Isoc spokesman Col Banphot Phoolphian.

He said migrant vessels found outside Thai waters would be given navigational guidance to prevent them from losing their way and entering Thai waters.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said authorities were considering the use of two islands off the Ranong coast as temporary shelters for these migrants, while the navy was mulling an unnamed island as an option.

The commander of the Fourth Army Region, Lt-General Prakarn Chomyuth, who is responsible for the entire south, said two inland sites in Songkhla and Satun were also being considered.

Meanwhile, area navy commander Vice-Admiral Sayan Prasongsamrej said human smugglers had been found to intentionally disable the boats used to ferry migrants. ­- The Nation / Asia News Network

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