Last night our medical team safely delivered a baby girl on board The Vos Hestia, our rescue ship in the Mediterranean. Our medical team had to resuscitate the baby girl when she was born on board the ship
We’ve now taken the newborn baby, along with her mother and another heavily pregnant woman, to receive care in Malta via a fast boat.
Update 03/07/17: professionals from the hospital in Malta have said mother and baby are doing well. They added that it is a miracle the baby is alive.
Eye witness account
Rob MacGillivray, our Search and Rescue Director, said: “It was a moment of joy and hope amid the daily desperation that has seen more than 2,000 people lose their lives in the sea this year.
“Her mother was forced from home, exploited by smugglers and seemingly abandoned by the world. Mother and baby are now safe after both their lives dangled by a thread. Their survival is a stark reminder of what is at stake in the Med.”
More than 1000 people rescued in one day
In the last four days, nearly 9,000 people try to cross the Mediterrean from Libya. The Vos Hestia returned today with over 1000 people on board – the most it has ever saved in one rescue.
Three serious medical cases were immediately treated and stabilised in the on board clinic by our doctor and nurses.
Among them were over 50 children. More than 200 of the people saved from unstable, overcrowded vessels are thought to be children who are travelling alone with no parents or guardians.
A three-day-old baby and her mother were also been rescued from the sea.
What are people fleeing?
On board the ship, MacGillivray hears people speaking about what has led them to embark on this perilous journey.
“Women we have rescued have told us that women and girls would been taken from the streets for hours, sexually assaulted and often raped, then left where they were found.
“One man had witnessed door to door attacks in which many West Africans were killed. Another man came on board with visible signs of suspected torture including acid drops, electrical burns and bullet wounds.
“Another told us people in his detention centre were whipped and electrocuted every day, so they would scream to their families to send more money”.
Is enough being done?
After working flat out for 20 hours with other NGOs, the Italian navy and coast guard, all the rescue ships in the area became overwhelmed. But still more flimsy and unsafe boats were spotted in the distance.
In MacGillivray’s words, “[this demonstrated] that the European response to save people at risk of drowning is inadequate and more capacity is needed.
“Europe is deserting its responsibility”
Working on the Vos Hestia, MacGillivray feels strongly that European countries should create safe and legal routes to Europe as a matter of highest priority.
“Europe is outsourcing and deserting its responsibility to refugees and migrants. It is undermining its own credibility by prioritising border control over saving lives in the short term or a realistic, humane plan in the long term.”
He also said that the conditions forcing people to migrate and leave their homes must be addressed. Development aid for these countries should be increased, and progress must be must to end the violence and persecution faced by so many.
So far, our search and rescue operation has rescued over 3,400 people in 2017, including over 500 children. Please donate today to make sure we can keep saving lives.