Together we save lives: Humanitarian Service at Central Mediterranean Sea Mission Sharing

Posted on 13/10/2023

Each year, a lot of people are forced to leave their homes due to violence, persecution, conflict, poverty, natural disasters, climate change. People determined to cross the Sea are risking their lives on the overcrowded and unsuitable rubber boats, and unfortunately deaths caused by boat capsizing were often seen in the area. Among the numerous migration routes around the world, the Central Mediterranean route is considered the most dangerous. More than 58,000 migrants are known to have died worldwide during the dangerous journey since 2014, with nearly half of them documented along the Mediterranean routes. The international Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has been providing offshore humanitarian medical service on the rescue ship ‘Ocean Viking’ in collaboration with the non-governmental organization SOS MEDITERRANEE. The operation aims to save lives and provide essential humanitarian services on the Mediterranean Sea. Over 4,300 individuals were rescued in over 80 operations in the last 2 years. Hong Kong Red Cross were deployed to join Ocean Viking in providing medical services for the people rescued. Two medical volunteers share their stories on rescue ship.


Following the deployment of Dr. Jenny Chu as a medical volunteer on the Ocean Viking in July 2022, two volunteers, Mr. Wilbur Chan and Dr. Yan Kwong, joined the Central Mediterranean Sea rescue operation on the Ocean Viking in May and July this year, respectively.

During the sharing session, Dr. Yan Kwong shared a remarkable story of rescuing over 600 displaced people within a mere 48 hours. She believes that closure of a mission does not mark the end of one's humanitarian journey and wishes to do more to help those in need. Mr. Wilbur Chan recounted his mission on the Ocean Viking rescue ship, "Of the 86 people we have encountered, 69 were unaccompanied minors under 17. They were fortunate to have boarded the rescue vessel. Their boat probably would have capsized if we arrived late. Even if they perished in the waves, their families would not be able to know anything about it." He also shared his experience of encountering Libyan coastguards firing warning shots during a rescue operation for displaced people.

Dr. Yan shared about the displaced people who suffered fuel burnt fuel burnt due to prolonged exposure to gasoline. 3 participants engaged in discussions with Wilbur Chan after the sharing session.


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