In a bid to help the thousands of children and young refugees risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean, international charity Save the Children has launched a new Search-and-Rescue operation with a dedicated vessel now patrolling the busy seas.
And the Stornoway branch of Save the Children inviteS islanders to help in raising funds for the lifesaving new project, with a ‘Soup & Sweet’ lunch taking place between 12noon and 2pm on Saturday, November 19th, in the MA Macleod Memorial Hall, Kenneth Street, Stornoway.
“The birth of the Save the Children organisation came about in 1919 when Europe had been ravaged by the First World War and there was a refugee crisis with hundreds of thousands of children suffering,” said Stornoway branch Chair Mamie Macleod.
“Here we are, nearly a hundred years on and faced with another crisis, with so many children making this horrible journey, and so often completely alone.
“It is so sad and makes me think of the words of Eglantyne Jebb, the charity founder, who said: ‘All wars are waged against the child’,” Mamie added.
More than 3,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean already this year – a death toll which is more than 40 percent higher than the same period in 2015.
Save the Children’s Search and Rescue ship, which has the facilities to rescue and accommodate approximately 300 people at a time, is based out of Catania and is equipped with two smaller inflatable boats operated by specialist rescue crews. They carry out the rescue operations, saving people either from capsized boats or from drowning in the water itself.
An appeal launched to help raise the urgently needed funds to cover the vessel’s operation for the next 15 months is now underway, and funds raised by donation-at-the-door of the Stornoway branch ‘Soup & Sweet’ lunch will be added to appeal funds.
You can donate or find out more about the operation at: www.savethechildren.org.uk/rescue-at-sea