ome (NEV), March 11, 2018 – Two operators of the Mediterranean Hope – Project for Refugees and Migrants promoted by the FCEI (Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy) have been involved in the many rescue operations, carried out by the Open Arms vessel operated by the Spanish NGO Proactiva.
The first rescue operation was carried out on Friday 09/10 during the night. The rescue involved three Libyan brothers who embarked in Libya on a small rubber dinghy. The two brothers were trying to reach a port where the youngest, a minor who suffers from a serious case of leukaemia, could be treated. Many Italian newspapers reported this event exposing the tragic situation of refugees in Libya.
A few hours later, on Saturday 10/03, the Open Arms vessel flying the Spanish flag, intercepted a group of 106 refugees of different nationalities. At the end of these two operations, the refugees were transferred to the NGO shipSOS Mediterranée thus the Open Arms was able to continue its rescue operations. And yet, on Sunday 11/03 late morning, the Open Arms intercepted another dinghy boarding 95 people and then it headed to the port of Pozzallo. All operations were carried out under the coordination of the Italian Coast Guard.
During the mission, one of the MH’s operators attended the kitchen duties for the crew and the refugees, while the other one, Francesco Piobbichi, took part in the rescue actions and depicted the key moments through his drawings. To date, it has been published by Claudiana a first collection (Disegni dalla Frontiera) gathering many of these drawings.
As reported by Paolo Naso, coordinator of Mediterranean Hope « Our humanitarian commitment has an evangelical soul. Through the presence of MH’s operators on the vessels engaged in rescue operations, the FCEI has strengthen its commitment in the field of migration, trying to concretely put in practise the Gospel message that wants us to welcome and support migrants as well as protecting the life and dignity of our neighbours, even if they come from another continent. » « As FCEI, we have been committed through the humanitarian corridors that have been opened together with the Community of Sant’Egidio and the Waldensian Board. In addition, we are involved in the reception of asylum seekers when landing Lampedusa. And, we provide support initiatives to integrate these migrants through the programme offered at the Casa delle culture of Scicli (Ragusa, Sicily) and other centres in Lazio in which we accommodate vulnerable people. Under the political perspective, we are also involved to affirm the rights of refugees and asylum seekers by promoting initiatives at the European Institutions that we carry out together with our partner churches.» Paolo Naso coordinator of Mediterranean Hope said.