Posted: February 19, 2013 in News

World

Thirty-two asylum seekers rescued by the Sri Lankan navy say they went without food for 21 days and were forced to throw dozens of dead overboard after their wooden vessel failed at sea. The survivors, who identified themselves as Muslims from near the Burma-Bangladesh border, told local officials that they set out to seek refuge in Indonesia or Australia, but instead spent two months languishing on the water. By the time they were plucked from the sea, they’d thrown 98 bodies to the waves.

The nightmare of shipwreck may sound like a relic of another time, but what happened off the coast of Sri Lanka this week is alarmingly commonplace. The U.N. estimates that at least 13,000 people fled the borderlands between Burma and Bangladesh by boat in 2012. Of them, 485 are known to have drowned. This deadly tide looks unlikely to recede: at least 1,800 refugees washed…

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