Search and Rescue Must Be Strengthened after Migrant Deaths

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Francine Uenuma 202.450.9153 (M)

Lampedusa, Italy (Feb. 10, 2015) – Save the Children is calling upon on Italy and Europe to strengthen its search and rescue capabilities in the Mediterranean Sea to prevent further tragedies following the deaths of 29 migrants owing to hypothermia.

The migrants attempting this treacherous sea crossing were picked up by the Italian coastguard after fleeing from violence in their home countries, including Libya.

“Appalling sea conditions encountered in the winter haven’t disrupted the flow of arrivals by sea. There is firm evidence of no alternatives for those who are forced, in spite of everything, to attempt this desperate crossing,” said Rafaella Milano of Save the Children Italy.

“Save the Children repeatedly raised concerns when the Italian navy’s comprehensive search-and-rescue operation was stopped last October, citing fears about accentuating the already extreme risks faced by migrants, especially those most vulnerable, such as women and children who are a constant presence in sea crossings.

According to our estimates, since the beginning of 2015, about 3,709 migrants have landed in Italy, including 195 women and 390 children, 149 of them unaccompanied and 241 accompanied.”

Every day, children around the world are severely affected by crises and events which are out of their control. No one knows when, or where, the next crisis will occur. For nearly 100 years, Save the Children has been on the front lines of emergency and humanitarian responses around the world. Our Children’s Emergency Fund was established to provide assistance to children in their time of greatest need.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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