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Vows to rescue 'boat people' as Asian migration summit ends

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By Euronews
Vows to rescue 'boat people' as Asian migration summit ends

Southeast Asian nations have agreed to intensify search and rescue operations to help migrants stranded at sea, and work together to solve the crisis.

Aid agencies have warned that thousands of migrants are still adrift in boats.

The US and Australia have responded to an appeal for funds, pledging more money.

Thailand welcomed the money but said a more permanent solution was needed.

It has vowed to start repatriating hundreds of migrants who have fled Myanmar as soon as possible.

“Our long-term goal is that people won’t flee, they’ll stay at home in peace, with jobs and a better quality of life,” said Norachit Sinhaseni, Permanent Secretary at the Thai Foreign Ministry.

The Thai navy showed off some of its rescue capabilities: a converted warship equipped with helipads and a hospital ward.

The vessel will serve as a floating base to help migrants in the Andaman Sea.

It came as Myanmar said it had taken ashore a boat with more than 700 people it said were Bengalis.

More than 4,000 migrants have landed in several countries since Thailand launched a crackdown on people-smuggling gangs.