21 April 2015
- Thousands helped by Red Cross in last few days
- “Global indifference” to migrant suffering
In just two weeks, more than 11,000 migrants have been given Red Cross help after making the dangerous sea crossing from Africa to Europe.
Many attempting the journey are refugees fleeing fighting in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Italian Red Cross staff and volunteers are working to give new arrivals food, water and health care when they come ashore.
More than 1,000 people are thought to have died in the past week – including about 700 killed when their boat overturned last weekend.
Deaths are preventable
Elhadj As Sy, secretary general of the International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, said: “The deaths on Saturday night of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea are an illustration of the global indifference about the plight of migrants, and the factors that force people to leave their homes in search of safety, a better future or to simply recover their human dignity.
“Protecting people on the move is a collective responsibility. Anyone involved in these journeys – including authorities in countries of origin, transit and destination – have a fundamental duty to respect human dignity and to avoid any action that puts the lives of these people at risk.
“Every time a boat sinks a part of humanity drowns and we are haunted by the knowledge that it could have been prevented.”
The British Red Cross is a member of the Federation.
Med “turning into a vast graveyard”
Mr As Sy called on countries to show solidarity and hold human traffickers to account. He also urged them to inform migrants about the risks they face.
He ended his message: “We call for a new global commitment to tackle the root causes of migration, that include conflict, discrimination and economic inequality.
“Let’s put a halt to the indifference that is turning the Mediterranean into a vast graveyard.”