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Harrowing scenes, high seas, desperation: but for some, a little hope

Order of Malta teams in dramatic rescue

Lampedusa, 5 October 2013

Lampedusa: submerged immigrant boat

Lampedusa: submerged immigrant boat

The Director of CISOM, Mauro Casignini, reports that in the
midst of the dramatic scenes of the last two days, the aid workers have been able to rescue 155 people. ‘At least one tiny line of silver,’ he said, ‘which encouraged our teams. So for some there is a little hope, and we feel uplifted after hours in the sea working to recover hundreds who did not make it.’ He notes that the night before the tragedy, a boat carrying 400 immigrants had arrived, 100 of whom were children, and all had landed safely. Right now, the impact is affecting the residents – just shy of 5,000 – of the tiny Mediterranean island and CISOM is also providing psychological help as they too are traumatised by the events of these days.

For the moment, the sea search has been suspended as the
waves are too rough to venture out.

Lampedusa: immigrants crowd onto open boats

Lampedusa: immigrants crowd onto open boats

The Italian Emergency Corps of the Order of Malta (CISOM) has an Agreement with the Italian Coast Guard and the Guardia di Finanza to work with them providing first aid assistance on the Italian coastline, in force since 2008. And since then, a CISOM doctor and nurse have gone out to every boat arriving at Lampedusa, performed medical checks and given first aid to all who needed it.

Foundation CISOM – Italian Relief Corps of the Order of Malta
DeutscheBank Rome – Santi Apostoli
IBAN IT 31 A 03104 03214 000000821100
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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.