Dec. 20 - 13 asylum seekers rescued near Indonesia's East Java, after a packed boat heading for Australia sank last week. Sophia Soo reports.
Indonesian rescuers saved 12 men and a woman out at sea on Monday near Indonesia's East Java. They were on a packed boat of asylum seekers bound for Australia last week, when it broke apart in stormy seas. The asylum seekers were brought into the town of Puger, and many were visibly suffering from severe dehydration and exhaustion. The crowded boat, which could only hold 100 people, was said to have carried over 250 people. Officials said at least 200 people are still missing. Many of the passengers are believed to be economic migrants from Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. (SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) AN AFGHAN SURVIVOR, HABIB ALI SAYING: "To Australia, I am from Afghanistan." Boat people are a major political issue in Australia. The Australian government says its tough policy is a deterrent to people smugglers, but refugee and humanitarian groups say it has little impact on the lucrative trade. Sophia Soo, Reuters.