The Red Cross’s new search and rescue boat saved more than 300 people from the Mediterranean just 24 hours after it was launched.
The Responder, which left Malta at 7 a.m. Tuesday 9th August, rescued 327 people from four separate boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean in the early hours of 10 August.
Dozens of women and children were among those pulled from makeshift rafts and dangerously overcrowded dinghies – including 11 children travelling alone.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Secretary General Elhadj As Sy said:
“On its first day of its first mission, the Responder has helped save the lives of more than 300 women, men and children.
“The urgent need for this search and rescue operation is clear – lives are being saved.”
“More than 3,000 people have already drowned this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. World leaders must come together to commit to stopping this needless, ongoing tragedy.”
The Responder will patrol the Central Mediterranean route between northern Africa and Italy where the majority of the 3,100 drownings this year have occurred.
Italy is currently the primary entry point for migrants heading to Europe, with more than 94,000 arrivals in 2016.
The Responder is expected to rescue more than 1,000 people every month. Red Cross volunteers and staff on board will provide post-rescue support including first aid, medical care, food, dry clothes, blankets and toiletries. will fund the running costs of the boat. The first team on the Responder includes two Red Cross nurses and a doctor from Italy.
To support the Red Cross refugee crisis response donate online at www.redcross.ie/donate