More than 700 migrants aboard non-governmental organization (NGO) boats have been waiting for eight days for urgent disembarkation in a Mediterranean port, after being rescued at sea, the rescuers said today (2).
A total of “460 people, including women, children, babies and men, are still trapped on the boats, some in need of urgent medical care, eight days after being rescued in the central Mediterranean, the NGO SOS Mediterranée and the International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
The NGO stated that the team aboard the Ocean Viking boat, under its responsibility, is unable to respond to the large number of cases that need medical assistance, which include stress, dehydration, infections, poorly treated wounds and chronic diseases. Two nine-month pregnant women had to be taken out.
“We have never recorded such a large number of serious medical cases aboard the Ocean Viking. The survivors were found in the middle of the sea in unimaginable situations, in a desperate attempt to save themselves in flight from Libya”, said an official of SOS Mediterranée, Xavier Lauth.
SOS Mediterranée’s Ocean Viking rescued 466 women, children and men in ten operations from August 25 to 27.
Among the survivors were more than 20 adult women, including some pregnant women, and more than 80 minors, 75% of whom were unaccompanied.
On August 29, two nine-month pregnant women were removed from the boat, in an emergency operation, and taken by the Italian coast guard, as well as four family members – two sisters and two children, one of them a three-week-old girl.
Also the boat Geo Barens, from the NGO Doctors Without Borders, has been waiting for more than a week to dock and disembark the 267 migrants it has on board and who were rescued from the sea last weekend.
“Among the survivors desperately waiting to disembark is 10-year-old Omar, who traveled alone from Cameroon. He spent six months in Libya, in inhumane conditions, and two days at sea before being rescued. For him and all others, we can’t wait any longer”, wrote the NGO on its social networks.
Doctors Without Borders denounced the lack of reaction from neighboring countries, stating that “so far, four requests have been sent to a port in Malta and three to Italy, without any response”.
According to Italian authorities, last night 68 people arrived on the island of Lampedusa, the closest to the African coast, in two different boats, after 330 arrived on Thursday.
At the island’s identification center there are 887 migrants, with the service’s capacity for 350, informed local authorities, who are carrying out relocation operations.
This year, 58,451 migrants have arrived on the Italian coast. In the same period in 2021, there were 39,478, according to data from the Italian government updated today.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News