Saving lives at sea: a day in the life of our rescue team

Sara*, a young baby from Nigeria, is brought on board our rescue ship in November 2016. Photo: Miya Tajima-Simpson/Save The Children.

Our search and rescue ship is back in the Mediterranean, ready to save lives and bring vulnerable children and families to safety.

Last year, team leader Roger Alonso told us how your support helps us rescue children fleeing war, persecution and poverty.

Families risking everything

“We see a significant number of unaccompanied children and pregnant women,” Roger said. “As well as lone parents risking everything to find a safer way to bring their families out of war zones.

“We pull people from the water and provide food, water and warm clothes and place for the children under cover to protect them from the elements.”

Team leader Roger Alonso shortly before a rescue mission in the SAR zone. Photo: Hanna Adcock/Save the Children
Team leader Roger Alonso shortly before a rescue mission in the search and rescue zone, September 2016. Photo: Hanna Adcock/Save the Children

A race to find vulnerable children

“There is an urgent need to quickly identify family units so we can spot children travelling alone.

“We’re also on the lookout for children and adults at risk of being trafficked or other abuse.

“Once we’re on land, our child protection teams work with those children identified as at risk.”

“The situation facing children and their families
in the Mediterranean is overwhelming.”

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Open water stretching for miles

“Whilst at sea, we cover a huge area of around 400km; that’s roughly the distance from the UK’s east to west coast.

“We spend more than 80% of the time at sea and usually only have a day and a half between arrival and departure to get the vessel restocked with water, food and blankets.

“It’s a huge logistical operation but extending our work to the sea was a logical choice.”

“Our priority at all times is to prevent children
dying at sea.”

A frightening journey

“We’re already active in the countries child refugees and their families have fled from and we’re in the European countries they are trying to flee to.

“So we had to be there for them on the most hazardous part of their journey, too.

“A person travelling on the north Africa to Italy route is 13 times more likely to die in the course of the journey than someone who travels on the Aegean path through Turkey.”

A sad record for 2016

“In 2016 alone, more than 2,700 people lost their lives setting off on the central Mediterranean route.

“That’s the area our search and rescue team is targeting.”

Help child refugees today. 

Support our Rescue at Sea Appeal

 

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