Last night Open Arms saved 83 people from the central Mediterranean Sea. The boat, belonging to the charity of the same name, was travelling with EMERGENCY on board to rescue immigrants fleeing over the sea in search of a better life. Of the 83 people rescued from a small wooden boat, four were women, two of them pregnant, and 14 were children between 14 and 17 years of age.
Those saved said they had set out from Zwara on Monday evening. The traffickers had taken them out to the middle of the sea by morning, then abandoned them. That’s when the boat’s passengers decided to send out an SOS.
Open Arms intercepted them last night. It took about an hour to get them on board, between 8.15 and 9.30 p.m.
Though most of the passengers were Egyptians, Somalis and Moroccans, there was one on board from Senegal, two from Bangladesh and two from the Ivory Coast. EMERGENCY is in charge of medical treatment on the ship, and duly gave all of them check-ups.
‘For now we’re mainly seeing problems of malnutrition and scabies. Another man had a bedsore on his left buttock from all the time he’d spent sitting in Libyan prisons. Among the women at least one had been sexually assaulted in Libya,’ says Eleonora, EMERGENCY nurse on board Open Arms.
Open Arms and EMERGENCY went back out to sea on 28 August, after many months in the harbour thanks to the pandemic, during which they reorganised the boat to partition everything.
EMERGENCY is an independent, neutral organisation, founded in 1994 to give free, high-quality medical and surgical treatment to victims of war, landmines and poverty. Since then EMERGENCY has treated over 11 million people, or one every minute. EMERGENCY promotes a culture of peace, solidarity and respect for human rights.
Open Arms is a non-governmental organisation that fights for human rights at sea. It began its rescue missions in September 2015 off Lesbos, in Greece, where it saved a thousand people in the Aegean Sea. In winter 2016 it extended its missions to the central Mediterranean, where in four months it saved 15,000 lives on board the ship Astral. Since it began its missions in this part of the Mediterranean, it has saved 26,500 people, 5,000 of them on board Open Arms. All thanks to charitable support.