Lampedusa: hundreds of lives lost off the Italian coast
Order of Malta medical team on site immediately
Lampedusa, 4 October 2013
The call came early yesterday, and the first assistance in the
rough seas off the tiny island of Lampedusa was led by the Order of Malta medical team (CISOM). ‘I had worked all night,’ recounts Dr.Emilio Schirru. ‘There was a boat with 500 people on board. It was in difficulties. We managed to save them. So I went to bed, but at 7 there was another emergency call, another boat. I went aboard. Managed to save only six. And then in the sea was a little girl, about three, floating in the water in the midst of hundreds of bodies, even pregnant women. We pulled her in among the six survivors and all the other dead. I have never seen anything like it.’
Background: The team is CISOM and they are the Italian Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta, 3500 volunteers countrywide operating in the fields of civil protection and emergencies on Italian territory. Special focus: work with the Italian Coastguard and Guardia di Finanza to provide a rescue service at sea for migrants coming to the southern coast and Lampedusa.