Medical situation on board is deteriorating, a place of safety is urgently needed

Food distribution on board the Humanity 1. Photo credits: Arez Ghaderi / SOS Humanity

 BERLIN – After four rescues in seven days, there are 415 survivors on board the rescue ship Humanity 1, almost half of them are minors. Their health condition is increasingly deteriorating. The civilian search and rescue organisation SOS Humanity calls in urgency for a place of safety for their disembarkation. 

 Camilla Kranzusch, communications coordinator on board the Humanity 1, reports about the critical medical situation: “The rescued people are suffering from strong sunburns, dehydration and exhaustion. They are very anxious after being scared to lose their life at sea. On board is an almost unbelievable number of 192 survivors under the age of 18. Among them are 64 children under 13 years, some of them are in an unstable condition. Diarrhea and colds are spreading fast in the limited space on board. Especially the children are stressed and exhausted in this situation and therefore do not eat properly. We have three babies on board one is just 1.5 months old. Two of the mothers are in such a bad mental and physical condition that they cannot breastfeed their babies. We can provide baby milk powder – but like other supplies, the milk powder is limited and will last for a few days only.”                                                            

 Since September 7 the crew of Humanity 1 has requested a place of safety already 13 times from the authorities in charge - without success. By the Law of the Sea, people rescued from distress at sea must be assigned a place of safety immediately. Camilla Kranzusch from SOS Humanity: “The protection that especially these vulnerable groups we have on board need cannot be provided on a ship. The sea is not a safe place for these people, and we urge those responsible to provide immediate assistance to these families, unaccompanied minors, women and men.”