15 June 2023

Hellenic Red Cross volunteers support survivors of deadliest shipwreck off Greece this year

Geneva/Budapest/Athens, 15 June 2023 – The Hellenic Red Cross volunteers have been supporting the survivors of the deadliest shipwreck off Greece this year, in southwest of Pylos in the Peloponnese.

Red Cross teams have rapidly responded in the rescue efforts, providing health and care support, food, and other basic items.

“As time passes, the chances of people surviving becomes less and less likely. People are exhausted as they were already at sea for days: they are in shock and distress. Many require urgent health care. They will need mental health and psychosocial support in the coming hours and days. I have never seen a rescue operation like this one before. It is a tragedy,” said Dimitris Chaliotis, Hellenic Red Cross volunteer.

“It is heart-wrenching and simply unacceptable that these people, who were seeking safety and a better future, have died at the EU borders in 2023. The first quarter of this year was already the deadliest on record on the Central Mediterranean route and this tragedy could be one of the worst ever as the search for the missing continues. Every one of the lives lost should be on our collective conscience due to the failure to provide safe pathways to protection,” said Frido Herinckx, IFRC operations manager.

Responding to the Greece boat disaster, Alex Fraser, the British Red Cross’s UK director for refugee support and restoring family links, said: “It is devastating to hear the details emerge of the tragedy in the Mediterranean. Nobody makes a perilous journey like this unless they feel they have no other option. Many will be men, women and children fleeing war and persecution.

“Until we have more accessible safe routes for people to claim asylum, there is a danger we may see more such disasters. Red Cross teams are on the ground and will continue to support the survivors and the families affected. Our thoughts are with those on the boat, their families, and those involved in the ongoing rescue mission.”

For more information or to request an interview, contact: media@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Tommaso Della Longa, +41 79 708 43 67 or Anna Tuson, +41 79 895 69 24

In Budapest: Corrie Butler, +36 70 430 6506

In UK: Danielle Mendel and Jemima Young press@redcross.org.uk, 020 7877 755