quarta-feira, 9 de março de 2016

The refugees "are real people and they're dying to make this trip"

Every day, from 1 January 2016, 2000 people to the Greek coast. At this rate, it is expected that the number of people arriving to this country coming by sea from January 2015 to mid March 2016, reaching the million.

After waiting for days off the coast of Turkey, right there alongside the refugees leave in boats. The number of women and children, often babies are increasing. The number of passenger is big, and small vessels, which increases the risk of these turned and, consecutively, from drowning.

According to the international organisation for migration, about 130,000 people arrived by sea to Greece and Italy, this year alone. 418 people died or are missing.

The Greece exceeds, wide, Italy, crossing the Mediterranean, departing from Libya, can be more dangerous than that of the Aegean ...

Still, the number of dead at the beginning of 2016 is slightly lower than in the same period in 2015. Nevertheless, in the first 9 weeks this year 77 children died in the Aegean Sea, which means more than one death per day.

The drama continues three months after Turkey committed itself to help the European Union to face the worst crisis in its territory since 1945 migration. But maybe Ankara needs help also to deal with the more than 700,000 million Syrians who are refugees in the country.

The main destination of refugees is the Germany that is bursting at the seams due to the number o f refugees has received, not counting those who are going to get, and, therefore, stem the flow of migration in Turkey. Chancellor Merkel met with the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara, February 08. Three days after NATO gave the green light to a surveillance operation in the Aegean:

"We don't want to stop or push the boats of refugees. NATO will contribute with sensitive information and help to combat human trafficking and criminal networks, "said the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.

The NATO mission will be held in cooperation with the coast guard. But, for now, the three ships sent are not yet in Turkish territorial waters. Await authorization from Ankara that Turkey go saying that's not holding up the mission. The issue of the area of operations is very sensitive for Turkey a nd Greece whose backs are sometimes only ten kilometres.

Can you give us a sense of the specific challenges faced by search and rescue teams in the South and East of the Mediterranean?

Bruce Reid:

I think what we are seeing in the Mediterranean, is something unprecedented, maritime search and rescue operations, a large number of people, who try to cross the sea in unstable vessels, typically burdened and which are really taking the rescue services to the limit.


Want to help Governments and institutions to work together on the issue of ransom. T his must be done in a legal context. How hard it will be to get it?

Bruce Reid:

People need to be aware, in particular, non-governmental organizations that have flocked to these waters, that a country is responsible for these waters. He has the legal responsibility for search and rescue and maritime space, so any activity performed must be coordinated within the framework of these structures and it is in this area that we are working with NGOs to ensure that are closely connected to the Hellenic Coast Guard, who understands what they're doing.

They try to work in a professional manner, that's the key. We need to ensure that rescue teams are kept safe, but also who is being rescued.


There is a strong argument that the resources should be channelled to cut the problem in the bud and not to be applied in rescue operations.

Bruce Reid:

Our goal is to make sure that, if these people continue to cross the sea â€" and we hope, probably up to one million this year, which will come through the Aegean sea â€" we want to make sure that there is a capacity to respond when people are in danger.

Therefore, we are conducting a mission with our NGOs to help develop the responsiveness of the Greek rescue teams. We are looking for a donation of 10 to 12 boats, for the next 12 mo nths, with training equipment, so that these communities can respond.


With the almost daily images of what's happening in the Greek border and in France will have the difficult situation of trying to cross by sea ceased to be a priority?

Bruce Reid:

That's the big risk because, at the moment, we're not hearing about the number of people who are rescued in the Mediterranean. We need to stay focused, that's why we're working together with NGOs to go down there, help improve the ability of search and rescue services and volunteers on the ground.

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