Search and Rescue


On August 29, 2016, the MSF search and rescue boat Dignity I contributed to the rescue of around 3,000 people drifting in about 20 rubber dinghies and several wooden boats in the central Mediterranean, one of which carried between 600 and 700 people.

“This is one of the largest numbers of people we have assisted in any single day since our search and rescue operations began over a year ago,” says Nicholas Papachrysostomou, field coordinator for Dignity I. “This unbelievable number speaks to the desperation people are facing in their countries that pushes them to risk their lives to seek safety and protection in Europe.”

MSF’s medical teams treated people who were exhausted and experiencing bloody diarrhea, dehydration, fever, hypothermia and skin diseases.

“According to the coast guard, nearly 6,500 people risked their lives to cross the rough Mediterranean Sea yesterday and were assisted in 40 rescue operations by several actors,” says Papachrysostomou. “This shows that the EU’s response to the crisis at and within its borders has failed to address the urgent humanitarian and protection needs of refugees and migrants. More than 3,167 people have already lost their lives in the Mediterranean in 2016.”

Since April 21, 2016, when MSF’s search and rescue operations began this year, MSF teams on board the Dignity I, Bourbon Argos and Aquarius (in partnership with SOS Mediterranée) have rescued a total of 11,365 people in 85 different rescue operations.





Photo Credit: MSF team rescues the first people and bring them safely back on board our search and rescue vessel, Dignity I. ©MSF


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