The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Updated: Rescued migrants facing food, water shortage; migrant taken to hospital

Albert Galea Tuesday, 9 April 2019, 12:54 Last update: about 15 days ago

The 64 migrants onboard the NGO vessel ‘Alan Kurdi’ are facing alarming food and water shortages, and the NGO Sea-Eye – which operates the vessel – has asked Malta for food, water and new clothing supplies, saying that these will be needed by Wednesday.

In a separate statement, the Armed Forces of Malta said it had safely evacuated a female who required urgent medical attention off the vessel MV Alan Kurdi.

The medical evacuation was conducted by the Armed Forces of Maltas MELITA 1 Search and Rescue vessel, the AFM said.

Sea-Eye Instructor Jan Ribbeck described the situation aboard the Sea-Eye ship, saying that most of the rescued had to sleep on deck. He said that they are “freezing” and that they get wet again and again and do not have a change of clothes.

"People here have been wearing their clothes for weeks, in part. These are unspeakable circumstances aboard a European ship”, Ribbeck said.

The men onboard the ship reported blackmail, torture and even the murder of those migrants who could no longer pay their tormentors, while women reported being victims of sexual violence and trafficking.

Ribbeck noted that due to bad weather, the rescued had to be moved below deck, a situation which resulted in 81 people being fitted into a room designed for 20 people. One third of those onboard have suffered from sea-sickness in the last 24 hours, Ribbeck said.

"It makes me speechless that Europe is not able to spare 81 people such ordeals”, he said.

"After all the suffering on the way to Europe, the very continent where its politicians are all too fond of ranting about European values ​​has only a clear message for our survivors: 'We do not want you here either!’”, the Sea-Eye’s chairman Gorden Isler said.

“Thus, these people are trapped on their dinghies between two worlds that simply show them different types of contempt”, Isler said.

The migrants, among which are 12 women, two children, and a baby were rescued last week after a distress call was forwarded by the Watch The Med alarmphone to the Libyan coastguard and the Alan Kurdi.

While six days have now passed since the rescue of the 64 migrants onboard the Alan Kurdi, the NGO said that there are still more than 50 people missing, noting that they have been such for the past eight days.

The crew and rescuers described Italy’s “separation of two families from their fathers” – which, they said, the country had called “humanitarian aid” – as an “unfounded measure” which is “humiliating and inhuman”.

The NGO lamented that there was still no positive news emerging from negotiations at the EU Commission as of Monday evening, with Dominik Reisinger, spokesman for Sea-Eye, saying that "the ongoing negotiations and the political question of the distribution of the rescued, across different EU member states, superimpose the human rights of the individual on board the Alan Kurdi."

Reisinger added that a team of international lawyers was dealing with the case, and suggested that several countries which have refused to provide the ship with a safe haven have breached the human rights and state protection obligations that are enshrined within the UN Human Rights Conventions.

The boat is currently stationed in international waters, around 22 nautical miles off Malta.

Photo: Fabian Heinz/Sea-Eye
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