Meanwhile, the Libyan Red Crescent recovers the bodies of 22 people from the Mediterranean
NGO rescuers saved the lives of over 100 refugees fleeing across the central Mediterranean this weekend.
The Sea Watch 4 — a rescue ship launched last week operated jointly by German charity Sea Watch and international medical organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) — reached the central Mediterranean on Friday night.
The crew carried out their first mission aboard the ship on Saturday afternoon, pulling seven people from an unseaworthy fibreglass boat to safety.
Two of the survivors required further medial treatment and were taken to the ship’s hospital, MSF tweeted yesterday. “Both are stable but remain under observation.”
Less than 24 hours later, the crew carried out a second rescue in international waters around 30 miles from the Libyan coast. This time they brought onboard 97 people from an overcrowded rubber dinghy.
The ship continues to search the area as the Astral, a vessel belonging to Spanish rescue NGO Open Arms, is also making its way to the central Mediterranean.
They will be the only dedicated rescue ships in the area as hundreds of people continue to flee Libya.
Meanwhile the Libyan Red Crescent recovered the bodies of 22 others from the sea near city of Zwara.
“These painful deaths are the result of the increasingly hardening policy towards people fleeing conflict and extreme poverty, and a failure to humanely manage migration flows,” said Federico Soda, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Libya’s chief of Mission for Libya.
IOM spokeswoman Safa Msehli warned that over 350 lives have been lost in the central Mediterranean this year amid an absence of EU-led search and rescue assets and increasing restrictions on the work of NGOs.
“NGO search and rescue vessels continue to fill a gap left by European states,” she said. “Their work must be recognised and any restrictions on their humanitarian efforts lifted.”
Top image by Chris Grodotzki