New video shows inside Syrian migrant boat during Mediterranean rescue

In 2015 more than 1800 migrants have died trying to make the journey across the Mediterranean

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The Independent Online

In the last six months an estimated 80,000 migrants have made the arduous journey by boat from Syria across the Mediterranean.

Escaping wars and poverty in Africa and the Middle East for a better life in Europe, migrants pay smugglers hundreds if not thousands of pounds to be crammed onto boats headed for Italy or the Greek Islands.

In a video made by Syrian journalist Aliaa Hwijah and released by ITV News, we see just how perilous these journeys can be.

Travelling at the dead of night along with her husband and 22 other migrants on a boat just six-metres long, Hwijah filmed the journey and the subsequent rescue.

This video is from ITV News

According to Hwijah, the couple paid Turkish smugglers $800 (£521) to transport them to Europe and escape the war in Syria.

However, an hour into their journey, the boat’s engine stopped.

With no lights on board or any to be seen on the horizon, the boat drifted in the dark across the sea.

Fortunately, they were spotted by a patrolling Greek coastguard ship.

As one of the only people on board that could speak English, Hwijah is heard shouting, “Hey, we need help”

“Hello, we need some help here.

“Don’t do anything,” the coastguard replies. “We will come alongside and pick you up.”

The coastguard got into position and soon pulled the migrants aboard before transporting them safely ashore.

Speaking to ITV News, she said: “When you see these people it is like as God send us angels to save our lives,” said Hwijah. “We were so happy of course yeah.”

Hwijah and the 23 others on board were lucky.

 

Of the estimated 80,000 to have made the journey in 2015, more than 1800 have died at sea.

As a result of this influx of migrants trying to enter Europe across the Mediterranean, the EU has reacted and on 23 April European leaders agreed to triple the funding to their Triton and Poseidon rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Included in these rescue efforts is the one of the Royal Navy’s biggest ships the HMS Bulwark.

So far the work of the saving hundreds of people, including 614 in the days between 10 and 13 May.

Also included in the EU’s plans was a proposed a 20,000 resettlement scheme across all EU nations for those “most in need of protection within the EU”.

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