Thanks again to all who donated to MSF in our recent collection to support the work with European Refugees in the Mediterranean. This raised over £900 which was sent immediately to MSF.
UPDATE ON THE WORK IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Extracts from an article of 30 September, by Guardian reporter, Patrick Kingsley on board one of the MSF rescue boats.
To read the full article click HERE
“Earlier in the morning the crew rescued two boats in quick succession, a pair of operations that brought 1,001 refugees on board the Argos, almost all of them Eritreans. The boat is only supposed to take 500.
But what the crew don’t know is that an even bigger problem is unravelling in the waters in front of the boat. In this bit of the southern Mediterranean, there are nine rescue operations in progress, involving MSF’s boats, the Italian coastguards and a few warships from European navies. But it’s not enough. From the bridge, the crew can see two more flimsy refugee boats on the water, and only one of them is being rescued.
Even as the smuggling season begins to wind down, this is the reality in the southern Mediterranean, 30-odd miles north of the smuggling ports of western Libya. In recent months the media’s migration coverage has shifted from here to the beaches of Greece and the plains of the Balkans, along the new routes that Syrian refugees are taking to reach the EU. But even without the Syrians, the number of people attempting the sea crossing from Libya to Italy has remained near record levels. And record numbers have died in doing so.
According to figures released to the Guardian by the International Organisation for Migration on Tuesday (29 September 2015), 130,891 people have reached Italy so far in 2015.
As the Bourbon Argos glides alongside one of the small crafts full of refugees, shielding the smaller boat from the waves, the crew can see that the Eritreans are using a bucket to bale out the hold. How much longer the boat will stay afloat is unclear. The welfare of the passengers packed inside the hold is also a concern. The lack of ventilation, coupled with the fumes of the engine, often suffocates people trapped in their hundreds below deck. More than 50 died like this last month.
One by one the refugees totter uncertainly up the ladder to the Argos. Some can barely walk, their legs cramped and numb from hours of sitting in the same position, trapped between their neighbours. Some are covered in vomit after choking on the fumes in the hold. But as they step on to the deck and MSF staff extend a hand and a hello, relief blooms across their faces. Soon they are collectively singing hymns.”