Nearly 500 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea in the last 72 hours by different aid agencies operating in the area. The deteriorating condition in Libya, from which they came, has forced the migrants to undertake the dangerous crossing.
The aid agencies, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and SOS Méditerranée, are looking for safe ports in Malta and Italy to bring the migrants as some of those rescued were suffering from hypothermia and dehydration while others had been exposed to fuel, which can develop into burns.
“As we approached, it was clear the people were highly stressed and panicking. Having been at sea for 22 hours, many were suffering from hypothermia and dehydration. Others had been exposed to fuel, which can develop into burns on the skin,” Catherine, a nurse onboard the rescue vessel Ocean Viking said.
Weak with seasickness, exhaustion and exposure, several of the 72 survivors rescued from a wooden boat on Sunday night (Jan 26), collapsed onto the deck of Ocean Viking when they arrived. MSF medics onboard worked quickly to stabilize their condition, with 2 patients remaining under observation.
A spokesman for MSF said that despite the bad winter weather, boats were continuing to leave Libya.
The migrants have spoken of the deteriorating security situation in the country as an internationally brokered truce between the UN-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli and the rival militia military commander, Khalifa Haftar, has broken down. (Source: BBC)