Dienstag, 25. August 2015

Died at age 15 on a ship of Doctors Without Borders, “Beaten up in Libya and left without water and food for days”

Via Meridionews – The ship of Doctors Without Borders that was moored at the harbor of Augusta today saved 300 migrants and brought one body. It is the body of a fifteen-year-old Somali boy. When he was found with the other refugees in the Sicilian canal two days ago, his condition was severe but not critical. Aboard, he was treated immediately by the NGO’s paramedics and seemed to respond well to the treatment. Yesterday, however, he died of heart failure.

According to the staff of Doctors Without Borders, the fifteen-year-old suffered from a chronic illness but was nevertheless forced to do hard manual labor in Libya. He was left without food or water for days, beaten up and abused. Some witnesses who arrived in Augusta today verified these facts. When he went on board of the Dignity, he already had trouble walking. His physical condition, however, did not seem critical enough to the doctors to legitimize a direct transportation to Sicily by helicopter. Yet, this emergency means of transportation was also used during the rescue operation to pick up two people the ship of Doctors Without Borders. The boy, in contrast, responded well to the drugs he received in the first hours. Then, suddenly his condition worsened and eventually he died from heart failure. “Unfortunately, this is no isolated case” said Giovanna di Benedetto, speaker of Save The Children, “in the last couple of months, we heard the stories of many minors and all of them told us of horrible living conditions in Libyan prisons or other places, where migrants are cooped by human traffickers before they are embarked. The minors and women of all people are those who suffer the most from the abuse because they are the weakest and most vulnerable.”

Throughout the day, two speedboats of the Lampedusa coast guard saved another 120 migrants. They were on a dinghy that was found 40 miles north of the Libyan coast: Among them were two children and 47 women, five of them pregnant. This operation, which was conducted according to Frontex guidelines, was coordinated by the command center of the coast guard in Rome in cooperation with the ministry of infrastructure and transport.

Salvo Catalano

Translation: Annika Schadewaldt