European authorities ignore crew’s 16 calls for a port to disembark the rescued
AN ACTIVIST-RUN rescue ship carrying over 390 survivors in the central Mediterranean is running out of water, food, medical supplies and baby milk powder, the crew warned today after their 16th call to the European maritime authorities went unanswered.
The situation aboard the Humanity 1 — now carrying 398 rescued and 28 crew members — is increasingly critical, warned a spokeswoman from the deck of the ship in a video message yesterday.
“We will run out of water on Wednesday, even though we have already stopped laundry and showering three days ago,” she said.
“We will run out of proper baby milk powder that two mother need to feed their one-and-a-half-months-old babies on Sunday. They’re too weak to breastfeed.
“We will run out of acceptable food on Tuesday, even though we cut down rations already. After that, we will need to give out plain rice with oil and salt.
“Twenty-five of the children on board have high fevers; three of them [have temperatures] above 39.5°C degrees. And there is no way to control a contagious infection in these cramped conditions.”
Sixteen people, including three babies under one-years-old and their mothers, were evacuated from the Humanity 1 yesterday afternoon due to their urgent medical needs, the ship’s operators SOS Humanity said today.
Some of the remaining 398 survivors have been aboard the Humanity 1 since its first rescue operation in the central Mediterranean 12 days ago.
Last week, the ship changed direction and sailed for over 20 hours to a boat carrying 201 people adrift inside Malta’s search-and-rescue zone.
They had been at sea for over a week and without food or water for at least two days. Despite being alerted to the emergency two days prior to their rescue, and being legally bound to send or coordinate help, the Maltese, Italian and Greek authorities did nothing.
Some of the children aboard the Humanity 1 are too weak to eat and drink properly, the ship’s doctor Barbara warned on Saturday.
“We cannot provide a quiet place for them, and we cannot provide [the] advance examination that they need.
“I cannot believe that this is happening just on the border of Europe, when all that we need is a port of safety.”
Meanwhile, the Open Arms Uno is currently home to 372 people rescued in three dramatic operations.
In the first, carried out last Thursday, the crew found 19 people, including four kids and two babies, aboard a drifting boat.
On Saturday, the Open Arms‘s new ship found the 59 people, including a corpse, that they had been searching for for over 24 hours on an oil rig in international waters.
Then, in the early hours of this morning, the crew found a barge carrying 294 people that had been at sea for four days.
The crew were helped by distress hotline organisation Alarm Phone and the reconnaissance plane Colibri 2, operated by Pilotes Volontaires.
On Friday, the Sea-Eye 4 disembarked 129 in Taranto, on the Italian island of Sicily, and the Sea-Watch 3 finished disembarking 428 in Reggio Calabria today.
Top image shows a morning briefing aboard the Humanity 1 [Pix: Arez Ghader / SOS Humanity]