A newly-arrived refugee in Sicily describes the traumatic Mediterranean crossing.
Fabrizio, EMERGENCY Psychologist:
“The Clipper Hebe is a large commercial vessel that arrived in Augusta, Sicily, having rescued 221 migrants, including 80 unaccompanied children. Egyptians, Sudanese, Eritreans, and Palestinians. Their boat capsized 70 miles south of Crete and adverse weather conditions made the recovery extremely difficult – at least half of the 600 people crammed on board were unable to escape.
One of the first to come to our mobile clinic is ‘O’, a Sudanese man around 30 years old. He is stunned and confused. When I tell him that we are in Italy, he seems to brighten up immediately – his tired, heavy expression slips away. Then, suddenly, he bursts into tears and shows a bruise on his arm.
“Look, it was made by a woman who was drowning and clung to me. It was awful not being able to do anything for her – she drowned before my eyes. There were more than 600 of us on the boat.” He continues to cry, remembering the confusion, the screams, and the sight of dead bodies floating in the water.
“You can not imagine,” he says, “you can not imagine what happened. Now I’m here but I’m so confused, what happened is so unthinkable, I don’t know if I’m imagining, dreaming, or if it’s real.””
So far this year, more than 3,500 people have died crossing the Mediterranean. We remember those who have lost their lives, but also demand policies to prevent more deaths. Europe: Establish safe, legal channels for those who flee from war and poverty.
To find out more about EMERGENCY’s work with refugees in Sicily, click here: https://www.emergencyusa.org/where-we-work/italy/