Italy has avoided any response to the difficult condition of dozens of Syrian and Lebanese refugees who are stranded in its waters near Malta.
Numerous refugees from Lebanon and Syria have been marooned on a leaking fishing vessel in the Mediterranean Sea for long days. Two kids have reportedly died, and the group is pleading with the European border police to rescue them.
With the help of a satellite phone, the 60 or so migrants and refugees informed loved ones and volunteer organizations that two infants had passed away. Official reports confirmed that they declared the group to have endured 72 hours without food, drink, or infant formula.
Syrian refugees and Lebanese from its extremely destitute areas are on board in search of employment in Italy. About ten days ago, they departed Lebanon from the Tripoli shore in northern coasts.
Quoting from a relation of one of the victims, Associated Press writes, “they’re trying to remove water leaking into the boat with buckets, that’s all they have. This is fishing boat is meant for five people, not 60.”
Over six million people call Lebanon their homeland, over 16% of which are Syrian refugees. Over three-quarters of the people are now living in persistent poverty of the terrible economic collapse that the nation has been experiencing during the past three years.
According to reports, the migrants are trapped close to the Italian and Maltese coasts. Families and campaigners in contact with the migrants claim that the officials have not sent rescue teams to the area.
Malta has not yet authorized a relief effort, relatives and Alarm Phone, an activist group that aids in bringing rescuers to drowning migrants at sea, confirmed. A corporate cargo ship has not been granted approval to assist the trapped migrants.
Italy Refugee Crisis
The Italian administration, the Foreign Ministry of Lebanon, and the country’s Embassy in Italian capital were encouraged to act by a parliamentarian from Lebanon.
A tweet by Alarm Phone alleged that “a relative informed us that water is entering the boat and it is at severe risk of capsizing!” The network went on questioning the ongoing indifference: “They have been at sea for over 10 days already and several EU authorities have been informed – why is nobody intervening?”
A week after the incident, the group Doctors Without Borders posted on Twitter that the Malta Search and Rescue Coordination Centre must immediately assume its obligations and abide by international and maritime rules. “Its lack of action is killing people. This is not acceptable,” it said.
Lebanon, which formerly hosted migrants, now serves as a starting point for perilous maritime migration to Europe. More Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian refugees left Lebanon as the crisis worsened. Nearly weekly reports of attempted migration are made by security services.
Over three miles from the port of Tripoli, a boat containing scores of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians who were trying to emigrate to Italy by sea capsized five months ago. It happened after a clash with the Lebanese navy. During the tragedy, dozens of people died.
There is disagreement on the specifics of the ship’s drowning. The military contends that the migrants’ boat clashed with a naval vessel while attempting to escape, however survivors report that their boat was attacked by the Lebanese military.
The drowning in April was the worst migration catastrophe to affect Lebanon in recent memory. It furthered the administration’s defensive posture at a period when the economy was in rapid decline and public confidence in the leadership and its systems was quickly eroding.