More than 100 people were reported to have drowned in the southern Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday.
The Red Cross believes that no one should be left to drown at sea. Our rescue boats continue to patrol these perilous waters and rescued 113 people the very same day.
So far this year, our boats have saved around 7,000 lives. Among them is a young child called Good News, who was rescued in August. This is her story.
It’s 5am and pitch black. Staring out into the darkness of the Mediterranean Sea, the crew of the rescue boat strain their eyes for any sign of life.
The ship’s radar indicates that there is something here.
The size, speed and direction of the radar blip suggest there is a small vessel nearby.
Then, through binoculars, the crew spot what seems like a torch waving.
The Responder’s searchlight is switched on. And there it is: a rubber boat, full of people.
A better life
On board the dinghy was Good News. At just two years old, she was one of the first people rescued.
As the rescue team approached the boat, they told people to keep calm and threw each person a life jacket. They ensured that the children were the first to safety.
Initially, Good News cried her eyes out. But she soon found her footing and charmed everyone aboard the Responder.
Her mother and father, who are from Nigeria, said they took the dangerous trip not for themselves, but for their daughter.
“She’s so smart, I want a better life for her,” said Good News’ father.
He and his wife dressed Good News in a floaty swimsuit for the journey. They knew it wouldn’t buy much time if she had fallen in the water.
Her father was still desperate enough to board the dinghy. “I want her to be in control of her own life. She can do that here,” he said.
Saving lives at sea
Good News was just one among 175 passengers aboard that rubber dinghy attempting to make the dangerous sea crossing between Libya to Italy.
Once on board, the Red Cross team checked every passenger for critical medical issues and gave out food, water, blankets, and clothing.
Throughout the two-night journey to Messina, Italy, many of the migrants came to terms with how lucky they were to be alive and how dangerous their journey had been.
Some of them were forced to leave the Libyan coast at gunpoint. Others came to understand that smugglers lied to them – leaving an entire boatload of people to die at sea.
Since 2013, more than 10,000 people have died making the same journey. In an effort to prevent these needless deaths, the Red Cross is working alongside Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) aboard the Phoenix and Responder rescue vessels.