Tue 19 Feb 2013
Filed under: News,Refugees,Regional
A group of 32 Myanmar nationals rescued by the Sri Lankan navy have claimed that nearly 100 others are missing at sea, police said on Sunday.Those Myanmar nationals told police in the southern town of Galle that 130 of them had embarked on a journey to reach Australia by boat two months ago.
They said that three boats were used for journey to head to Australia but the boats then got stranded and may have sunk.
The navy rescued 32 people on Saturday when their damaged wooden vessel began to sink.
All were brought to the Galle harbor on Sunday and rushed to a local hospital for treatment for acute dehydration.
The vessel from Myanmar had been first sighted by a local fishing craft which had alerted the Sri Lankan fisheries department.
Navy boats were then sent to rescue the stranded Myanmar nationals.
Earlier this month the Sri Lanka navy had rescued 138 Bangladeshi and Myanmar nationals at sea.
Attempting to reach Australia by boat to seek asylum has been a common occurrence in the South and South East Asian region.
Hundreds of Sri Lankans have managed to reach Australia by sea but many others have failed and were arrested by the Sri Lankan police or navy.
Most people head to Australia to seek economic benefits but the Australian authorities discourage illegal immigrants and detain those who reach their shores illegally.