The last thing Joseph, the six-month-old baby who died in one of the last migrant shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, heard was his mother’s heartbreaking screams. “I don’t have my baby! I lost my baby! ”,
Joseph and his mother were born in Guinea but sailed from Libya. They were members of the boat in which they traveled 118 people and that it split in the middle on Wednesday while the rescue ship of the NGO Open Arms distributed them life jackets.
It was cloudy, windy and cold. The baby fell into the water, frozen and furious, from where he was rescued and cared for.
Desperate scenes during the rescue of the immigrants, in which the baby died. Photo: Open Arms / Reuters video capture
“To think that if the boat had lasted five, ten seconds more, Joseph would be alive,” lamented David Lladó, head of the Open Arms mission, a ship that was once a tugboat and that today it has the capacity to rescue 300 people.
“He arrived with a cardiorespiratory arrest and was able to resuscitate him at first, he was stable for a few hours and an hour before the helicopter arrived to be evacuated, he died,” said Lladó while waiting for an Italian port to open his arms to disembark the 264 people they had saved from the sea after three shipwrecks and 36 hours of rescue.
Scenes of despair, during the dramatic rescue of immigrants in the middle of the Mediterranean. Photo: video capture. Open Arms / Reuters
“We evacuated the mother by helicopter hours later,” Lladó said. He said that he had started this journey because he wanted a future for his son and that now that he had died nothing made sense. It was very hard. We were unable to comfort her. “
Bangaly was also traveling in the gomon, a 6-year-old Guinean who in the video of the rescue appears vomiting behind Joseph’s mom. “Our boat was broken and I swallowed a lot of water,” said the boy. Then I asked my dad: ‘Where is mom?’ And I said: ‘I do not know’. ” Besides Joseph, five other people died in the shipwreck.
Refugees and migrants are rescued by members of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Brazos Abiertas, after leaving Libya trying to reach European soil aboard a crowded rubber boat in the Mediterranean Sea, on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. (AP Photo / Sergi Camara)
In already hostile geographies, such as many African countries, the coronavirus pandemic adds to despair and expels more and more people who throw themselves into the sea with the desire to achieve a protective sky in Europe.
Canary Islands, port of arrivals
For weeks, the Canary Islands, which belong to Spain despite being on the Atlantic Ocean and very close to Africa, have become a port of massive arrivals of illegal immigrants, of which a small portion will manage to become refugees.
“The Atlantic route has regained strength. Arrivals in our country, at the moment, represent 57 percent of arrivals from all over Europe. That gives an idea of the dimension ”, said this Friday the Minister of Territorial Policy and Public Function, Carolina Darias, during her visit to Tenerife in the face of the emergency that the Canary archipelago is experiencing.
“With regard to the Canary Islands, this year we have increased 900 percent of arrivals by sea in canoes and boats compared to the previous year,” he added.
Immigrants in the Canary Islands. Photo: Reuters
According to the Minister of Territorial Policy, “the migratory phenomenon has structural nature to which as a consequence of this damn pandemic there are added consequences that complicate a lot ”.
And he announced: “We will have two ocean vessels, a high-altitude patrol boat, an airplane, a helicopter and a submerged boat” to stop illegal immigration.
Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska will travel to Morocco, and Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya will go to Senegal to work on cooperation agreements that reduce the waves of immigrants that jump into the sea in rubber bands.
“The government will emphasize the deportation of people who are not in vulnerable situations. Those that are, have been gradually transferred to the peninsula, ”said Darias.
A civil guard looks for possible boats at sea. Photo: AFP
Last weekend, 78 boats docked on the Canary coast. Of them disembarked 2,213 immigrants. “We are in the 16 thousand people so far this year compared to the 1,500 who arrived in 2018,” said the minister.
The president of the Canary Islands, Angel Víctor Torres, said: “We have to reactivate the repatriation mechanisms in accordance with the agreements signed,” he requested. That there are humanitarian corridors in the European Union because irregular immigration that arrives in canoes and boats reaches Europe, the 27 member states and not just eight islands (which make up the Canary Islands) ”.
Consulted by Clarion, the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid expressed concern about the reactivation of some repatriation flights and the risk that people who may be returned to their countries of origin they are at risk of life.
“It is essential that anyone who arrives in our country has guaranteed access to legal assistance, has information on the possibility of requesting asylum and if a return process is initiated, have all the guarantees,” said Juan Carlos Lorenzo, coordinator of that NGO in the Canary Islands.
Image of the transfer aboard the NGO rescue ship of the 77 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by the NGO ship Open Arms
“The Canary Islands cannot become a black hole in terms of rights, as the Greek islands have been, nor can the coronavirus be the excuse for not facing an increase in arrivals that has been occurring for more than a year. Let’s look for alternatives that are more consistent with reality, ”added Lorenzo.
“The migration route to the Canary Islands is already the deadliest in the world: 480 young Senegalese have lost their lives in a week trying to reach the islands ”, say from Podemos Canarias, the political branch of Pedro Sánchez’s government partners in the islands.
Senegal declared this Friday, November 13 a day of mourning for those deaths.