I have never been in a warzone but this felt like one.
116 people adrift. They had been travelling for 3 days, with neither food nor water. Paola, our doctor on board the Open Arms, confirms they were in acute dehydration, confusion, severe debilitation.
All this occurred under the eyes of the merchant ship we were alerted from, that got stuck for hours without being able to do anything: these were the orders given by the Maltese authorities. DON’T HELP THEM: in few words, the same authorities supposed to guarantee the orders have not just bypassed the law but also the most basic sense of humanity.
We rescued them this afternoon, along with the Open Arms crew.
This is the second rescue mission in less than 24 hours: this morning, just right before dawn, we recovered 78 people on a boat in precarious conditions. Among them were 11 women and 2 children. Several people had fuel burns.
At the moment the bridge of the Open Arms is hosting more than 270 people. They need a safe harbour.