‘The Med is a cemetery with no gravestones,’ refugee rescue organisation says as it announces infant’s tragic death.
A Spanish refugee rescue charity Proactiva Open Arms said on Thursday a six-month-old baby it plucked from the Mediterranean has died hours later.
The baby who’s name was Joseph, from Guinea was rescued along with 111 other survivors by Open Arms on Wednesday from a rubber dinghy that was sinking off the Libyan coast.
From a video footage of the rescue operation, Joseph’s mother can be seen sliding across a boat as it moves on the waves, shouting: “Where is my baby? I lose my baby. Find my baby, find my baby!”
In the operation, five bodies were recovered from the operation but now, the heartbreaking death of Joseph has brought the death toll to six.
The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau in a tweet said “Every life matters. It could have been our baby.”
Along with Joseph and his mother, a pregnant woman, was also evacuated by the Italian coast guard and taken to Lampedusa island.
Three more survivors; a three-month-old baby girl, her mother and a 25-year-old man with serious heart trouble were airlifted to Malta.
They were taken there because Malta offered the nearest hospital, the Italian coast guard said in a separate statement, noting that Maltese authorities helped with the transfer.
The Open Arms, currently the only active charity rescue vessel in the central Mediterranean, has 257 refugees on board, after three separate operations between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Five bodies are also still on the ship, Open Arms said on Twitter.
“The Med is a cemetery with no gravestones,” the organisation said.
For months, small boats carrying refugees and migrants have been departing from Libya and Tunisia, usually trying to reach Italy.
According to Italian interior ministry data, the country has registered almost 31,000 refugee arrivals in 2020 so far, compared with almost 10,000 over the same period last year.
So far this year, at least 796 people have died while trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean, according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).