Post-Rescue Assistance in the Mediterranean Sea

Italy - Mediterranean Sea

Post-rescue assistance in the Mediterranean Sea

Since the beginning of the year, over 500 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.

While European countries continue to delegate their migration policy to the Libyan Coast Guard, rescue vessels from several civilian organisations have been blocked for weeks.

We believe in the value of human life and cannot bear to witness the continuous massacre taking place just a few miles from the Italian coast. We will not simply stand by and watch such a perilous situation unfold.

In a context where there is no common European rescue intervention at sea, the presence of NGO vessels is essential to save humans and rescue hundreds of people who undertake this dangerous journey to flee from violence and poverty.

It is for this reason that we decided to collaborate with Proactiva Open Arms and embed our medical personnel on board their search and rescue vessel.

The project

Since late August 2020, an EMERGENCY team consisting of a doctor, nurse and cultural mediator have been on board the Open Arms Vessel in the Mediterranean Sea provide medical assistance.

The ship will follow medical protocols informed by the infection prevention procedures that EMERGENCY has been utilising in its projects around the world throughout recent months. These include measures to manage flows of people, as well as look out for and report any suspected cases among survivors who are rescued. The crew will also be given swab tests before they set off and once they come back into port, so that any positive cases can be identified immediately.

“We think human lives should be saved even during this pandemic and that it can be done in safety. So, bolstered by our years of experience managing epidemics, we will be taking all the necessary measures on Open Arms to minimise the risk of contagion and protect our crew and the people we rescue.”

Rossella Miccio, president of EMERGENCY

Previous missions

In previous years, we have already been involved in SAR missions in the central Mediterranean, in collaboration with other organisations.

During summer 2019 and early 2020, we partnered with Proactiva Open Arms to offer medical assistance to migrants on board. In August 2019, our staff also joined ‘Mission 65’, when 107 people were rescued from the sea and kept on board Open Arms off the coast of Lampedusa for more than 20 days; eventually leading to an investigation into whether the then Ministry of the Interior was guilty of kidnap.

We save lives. Nobody left behind.

We are back at sea to provide medical support to those risking their lives fleeing from violence and poverty.

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