“My youngest baby is three months old. I’ve never seen him. But I gave him my name because maybe I won’t survive,” says Jamal Agboola-Muideen, 39.
“Going from Nigeria to Europe isn’t easy, through the land and through the sea. We lost a lot of people from the boat. I could have been among them.”
Jamal Agboola-Muideen is the breadwinner for his extended family and says he was forced to flee after his parents died when he received death threats from relatives wanting their land.
“I still have a lot of things to do in my life. I give thanks to you people. I thank you all. I thank God that you rescued us. I am very happy that I’m still alive.”
“We just had to leave Benghazi,” says a woman who fled Libya with her two young daughters.
“Our house was destroyed, I lost my job and so did my husband. We had no papers to leave legally.”
She says they paid USD 1,000 each for the deadly trip and another USD 1,000 for each small backpack. Inside the bags are clothes, hair brushes, children’s toys, material for sewing, mobile phone chargers, medicines.
In Benghazi, they paid to stay with someone but their savings gradually dwindled. There was no future for her or her young daughters. She was born in Libya but as her parents are Palestinian, they are not entitled to Libyan passports. She could not leave Libya by legal routes.
Saving lives at sea
Already this year, over 3,000 people have drowned in the southern Mediterranean.
Under a partnership between the Red Cross and Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), the Responder, along with its sister craft, the Phoenix, have been patrolling these perilous waters.
Since August this year alone, our boats have brought over 5,400 people to safety.
As well as search and rescue, these ships are providing first aid, medical care, food, water, dry clothes and blankets to people in desperate need.
- Read: From the deck of our rescue boat – a panic attack.
- Read: Red Cross search and rescue boat saves hundreds of lives in first 24 hours.
- Read: Why we’re rescuing refugees between Libya and Europe.
Photos by Kenny Karpov/MOAS.