MOAS Visits Mohammed Adam Oga in Hospital

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Mohammed Adam Oga left Libya on August 1st and spent 11 days aboard a dinghy at sea in his attempt to cross the Mediterranean, along with 14 other migrants. Mohammed, originally from Ethiopia, had spent 15 years in Eritrea and Sudan before he eventually decided to make the journey to Europe at the beginning of the month following the military crackdown in Sudan.

However, this crossing was to be a traumatic one, as their rubber dinghy quickly ran out of fuel, water and food and despite their desperate calls for assistance to passing ships and helicopters – no assistance came. Mohammed was consequently left to witness the deaths of all the other 14 people onboard, including a pregnant woman, as they suffered in the heat and harsh conditions of this deadly Mediterranean crossing.

On the 12th August, the 38-old was eventually evacuated by the Armed Forces of Malta helicopter, now in a critical condition and the sole survivor of the crossing. Mohammed was taken directly to Mater Dei Hospital for emergency treatment.

In past months MOAS has regularly visited migrants medevacked from SAR/AFM vessels to the local hospital, providing company, personal items and liaison services, showing solidarity to the evacuees and the local service providers in the sector. Utilising our experience in post-rescue care we understand the importance of support following a rescue and we therefore were compelled to visit Mohammed following his recuse.

The MOAS staff, including Director Regina Catrambone, visited Mohammed the afternoon following his rescue, August 13th, to provide him with some basic necessities such as toiletries, clothes and shoes. Although in an extremely weak condition, Mohammed seemed pleased to have some company at this extremely challenging time and we look forward to supporting him during his road to recovery. Despite his recent trauma, it was clear that Mohammed was a gentle person and displayed resilience and hope in his communications with our team.

Mohammed’s case, whilst a tragedy, is not unique. As we celebrate his survival, we mourn the deaths of the 14 others who undertook the journey with him, and the deaths of the 850 more who have lost their lives so far this year. In the 5 years since the height of the crisis in the Mediterranean, no lasting and ethical agreement has been reached to prevent further tragedy, and give these people back the dignity they so desperately need and deserve. How many more will die before realistic and implementable solutions are found?

Despite the fatal results, Mohammed does not regret attempting the crossing – surely evidence enough of the all too human desperation of people forced to flee. His testimony stands as yet another example of how the Mediterranean gained its reputation as the world’s deadliest migrant crossing – and as a reminder of our urgent call to establish #safeandlegalroutes in a last-ditch attempt to mitigate this perpetual loss of life at sea.

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