Sea rescue NGO Open Arms have rescued 294 migrants, including 49 women and 60 children, on Sunday after they spent 5 days adrift central of the Mediterranean Sea.
“A search of more than 24 hours and a rescue that, due to its difficulty, lasted 6 intense hours, various medical cases due to dehydration,” said the Spanish NGO, which also pointed out that the migrants spent two days without water.
On Saturday, the Open Arms picked up 59 migrants from Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea, among them 10 minors, from an oil platform in international waters off Tunisia. Inside the flimsy smugglers’ boat, the charity found the wrapped body of a migrant who had been shot on shore by smugglers, AP reported citing Open Arms spokesperson Laura Lanuza.
“The smugglers forced the people to take the corpse with them. They spent a day or so at sea, and kept the corpse until they were saved,” Lanuza said.
Unless an NGO vessel finds them first, migrants trying to leave Libya for Europe are usually intercepted and returned by Libyan authorities to Libya, where they may face torture, abuse and death.
In late June, UN investigators reaffirmed previous reports about migrants and refugees detained in Libya facing serious abuse, with women especially being subjected to sexual violence.
294 people, 5 days at sea, 2 days without water asking for help, 49 women and 60 children. A search of more than 24h and a rescue that, due to its difficulty, lasted 6 intense hours, various medical cases due to dehydration.
One more day at sea and lives would have been lost pic.twitter.com/eINX9yvMzY
— Open Arms ENG (@openarms_found) September 18, 2022