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Many Aquarius migrants have chronic malnutrition, MSF Says

Wednesday August 15, 2018

Most of 105 people onboard Aquarius originating from Eritrea and Somalia are suffering from chronic malnutrition. MSF providing high calorie vitamin fortified food that provides recommended protein requirements. People are well hydrated and medical team monitoring carefully. Photo: MSF/ Twitter

ROME – The NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Tuesday that most of the 105 people on board the Aquarius migrant vessel who came from Eritrea and Somalia were suffering from chronic malnutrition.

The NGO, which manages the ship along with SOS Méditerranée, said all of those on board were “well hydrated” and being monitored by a medical team.

“MSF providing high calorie vitamin fortified food that provides recommended protein requirements,” the NGO tweeted.

The vessel remained in limbo in the Mediterranean Sea, between Malta and the Italian island of Lampedusa, as it waited for any European government to give it permission to dock at a safe port.

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It was accommodating a total of 141 people – 97 men and 44 women – from Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia and Morocco, after they were rescued on Friday having set off from Libya.

Among the group were two pregnant women and 73 minors, including two children under 2 years old.

MSF was “particularly concerned” about 38 unaccompanied minors between the ages of 12-15.

“We cannot imagine what they endured in Libya and during harrowing journeys from their home countries,” the NGO said.

The two NGOs that manage the Aquarius have called on European governments to assign it to a safe port so the migrants can disembark.

In a similar scenario in June, Malta and Italy had both refused to grant permission for the ship carrying 629 people to dock at any of their ports. In the end, the Aquarius traveled to Spain’s eastern port city of Valencia.

But the Spanish government has on this occasion said its ports are not the closest or safest.


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