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Call it what it is, a massacre at Europe’s doorstep

14 202 116
21.11.2020

It is Tuesday evening, and the “Alarm Phone” keeps ringing. There are several boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea. This time there is a woman’s voice on the other side of the line: “We are 100 people, it is a black rubber boat, we are in international waters. Our engine is not working, there are children and babies, my baby.” Our Alarm Phone team hears panicked voices in the background and her baby, Yusuf, crying. We try to calm them down, ask their GPS coordinates and immediately alert all authorities. The phone is passed to a man who tells us: “Our engine is not working, there are children, there is nothing to do, there is nowhere to go.”

Twelve long hours pass until the only rescue vessel at sea, Open Arms, reaches the boat in distress. During the rescue, the rubber dinghy collapses under the weight of more than 110 people, making everyone fall into the water and killing five people. A few hours later, Open Arms releases the video of a woman, Yusuf’s mother, desperately searching for her baby, who was lost in the sea. Yusuf will be found alive and taken on board Open Arms, but will die on the rescue ship a few hours later, despite the relentless efforts of the rescue crew. Yusuf Alì Kanneh was six months old and is now buried in Lampedusa. His mum is about to turn 18 and his dad is imprisoned in a Libyan jail.

At least 110 lives were lost in the Mediterranean Sea last week. On Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that 13 people, including a child, had drowned when their boat capsized off the Libyan coast. On Wednesday, six........

© Al Jazeera


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