European charity seeks safe port for 460 rescued migrants
MILAN (AP) — The SOS Mediterranee charity is urgently seeking a port to safely unload 460 people rescued from the sea in 10 different operations last week who are now packed onto its Ocean Viking rescue ship.
A nurse on board, identified only as Rebecca, said the four-person medical team is overwhelmed with serious issues, including skin infections and chronic diseases. Six people have been evacuated by the Italian Coast Guard, including two pregnant women in their ninth month along with a 3-week-old infant girl.
“There is an overwhelming number of medical cases, including exhaustion, dehydration, generalized body pain, untreated infections,” the charity said Wednesday.
The European charity has requested ports of safety in Malta and Italy, but still has not received a response. The migrants were rescued from Thursday to Saturday last week. Laurence Bondard, an SOS Mediterranee spokesperson, stressed that the ship can only be “a temporary shelter. It is extremely difficult for the survivors to stay on deck, under stifling heat.”
“All of these survivors need to be disembarked so they can have further health care away from the heat and sun, which is compromising their health even further,” the nurse identified as Rebecca said in a video statement.
Those rescued are mostly from Bangladesh and Egypt, and include 20 women and 80 minors, most of whom are unaccompanied, the charity said.
All but one of their smugglers’ boats departed from Libya, and survivors said they had spent up to three days at sea before being rescued, Bondard said.
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