IFRC


World Humanitarian Day Tragedy: IFRC calls for humanitarian solution to Mediterranean drownings as two young children confirmed drowned

Published: 19 August 2016

Geneva, 19 August 2016: Two Syrian children, eight months and five years old, were today confirmed to be amongst five people who drowned at sea yesterday after their boat capsized trying to cross the Mediterranean.

The Red Cross search and rescue boat, the Responder, is assisting in the operation to transfer those who had died and help take them to land.

“On World Humanitarian Day, this is a tragic reminder that nearly every day, children, women and men are drowning trying to cross the Mediterranean to find a new home,” said the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Elhadj As Sy.

“We must stop our indifference to this humanitarian tragedy.  We must come together to respond to this crisis in a way that saves lives and protects human dignity.”

“How can so little have changed nearly a year after a photo of a little boy named Alan Kurdi galvanized the world?” Mr Sy asked.

Yesterday’s drownings in the Mediterranean Sea add to an escalating number of deaths at sea which already exceeds 3,100 this year.   

The Responder also helped to rescue more than 140 people yesterday who were found in an overcrowded rubber boat that was accumulating water and sinking.

Since 9 August, the Italian Red Cross, with support from the IFRC, and independent charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), have been part of a joint life-saving mission on board the Responder rescue ship.

Rescued people are brought to the shores of Italy, where Italian Red Cross teams will receive them and provide food, water, first aid and basic necessities.

Footage of rescue available.

To arrange interviews or visits on board the Responder, please contact:

On board the Responder rescue ship:

  • Caroline Haga, Emergency Communications Delegate, IFRC Europe
    Tel: +36 704 306 500 | Email: caroline.haga@ifrc.org | Twitter: @hagacaroline

In Budapest:

  • Nichola Jones, Emergency Communications Delegate, IFRC Europe
    Tel: +36 70 430 6506 | Email: nicholalyndsay.jones@ifrc.org | Twitter: @nicjones81

In Geneva

  • Reeni Amin Chua, Communications Senior Officer
    Mobile: +41 79 708 6273 E-mail: reeni.aminchua@ifrc.org | Twitter: @reeniac

For more information, please visit www.ifrc.org. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 191 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright