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Dear supporters,

We are relieved: After several days of waiting and in increasingly rough seas, 116 rescued children, women and men were finally able to disembark from our rescue ship in Augusta, Sicily, on Tuesday, 23rd of March. They had previously been rescued in two operations in the central Mediterranean – on 18th and 20th of March – by our crew on board the Ocean Viking.

Some of those rescued during the first operation were in poor health. All women and children, including a one-year-old baby, were constantly vomiting. A medical assessment was performed by the medical doctor who feared severe dehydration and exhaustion, especially for the children. During the second operation two days later, several survivors were in a state of strong emotional distress, one person fainted during the rescue but recovered quickly on board of the Ocean Viking.

These people were brought to safety by our crew and cared for by our medical team. Fortunate – but due to the completely inadequate search and rescue capacities, this cannot be taken for granted.

Only last week, the International Organization for Migration reported that since the beginning of the year, an average of three people has died every day in the Mediterranean. In a press release published at the same time, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, stated that the human rights situation in the central Mediterranean is “(…) deplorable. Shipwrecks continue to be worryingly recurrent, with more than 2,400 registered deaths in the period under consideration, a number which may well under-represent the real tally of deadly incidents.

In Sicily, our teams entered a preventive quarantine for two weeks before heading back to the central Mediterranean as soon as possible as the emergency situation continues. Rescues like the ones on the 18th and 20th of March are only possible thanks to the tireless support of numerous people like you: Thank you!

Your SOS MEDITERRANEE Team

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