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A BLEEDING pregnant woman in need of urgent medical care was one of approximately 45 migrants on board a stranded wooden boat in Malta’s territorial waters today.
At 8am this morning the boat she was on contacted Alarm Phone, an independent support service for migrants attempting to reach Europe from across the Mediterranean, saying they had left Tripoli in Libya two days ago, that they have no water left and the pregnant woman may have lost her child.
Breaking: Wooden boat with 45 people, including several women and children, near #Malta in distress! At 8.59am CEST we were alerted by a group of #migrants who had left from Tripoli in #Libya. At 9.10am we informed the Maltese authorities. #safepassage pic.twitter.com/fQfkm6HaYT
— Alarm Phone (@alarm_phone) September 18, 2019
The charity informed the Maltese coastguard in the morning of the emergency and provided them with the boat’s co-ordinates.
In the afternoon Alarm Phone’s Ina Fisher told the Star they were not aware of any rescue mission from the Maltese authorities.
“The boat is about 40 nautical miles in front of Malta. We’ve been in contact with them but they keep saying there is no boat visible.
“It’s very clear that Malta is responsible here. It’s quite easy for them to go and see that it is a very stressful situation on board the boat. We don’t understand what is taking so long.”
Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) told the Star: “Since April, the situation in Libya has deteriorated rapidly as fighting has intensified.
“There’s an urgent need for us to provide vulnerable refugees with alternative safe and legal pathways to asylum so that they’re able to reach safety without putting their lives in the hands of the unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers who organise these deadly boat journeys.”
Update: At 5.40pm this afternnon, Alarm Phone recieved confirmation from the Maltese authorities that the 45 people on board had been rescued.
“What we do not have,” the charity Tweeted this evening, “is a convincing explanation why rescue was delayed, unnecessarily risking the lives of those on board.
“We hope that the pregnant woman has not lost her child.”
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