17th April 2020

This month MOAS launched a campaign to encourage home seamstresses to make face masks for vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees in Malta in response to a call from the national Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) requesting our support to provide 6600 masks to ensure the 3300 migrants in their care have two each.

The masks will serve as a preventative measure to slow the spread of COVID-19 for migrants in Hal Far Open Centre where social distancing and other recommended precautionary measures against the virus are all the more challenging due to overcrowded conditions and poorer sanitation infrastructure.

We were delighted to utilise our resources to address this desperate need in Malta and were blown away by the response we received from the public here. In just a few weeks we received hundreds of responses from seamstresses, families, elderly in isolation and even fashion students offering to help with this initiative by volunteering their time to make face masks at home!

We are now delighted to announce that today the materials MOAS is providing for the volunteers to make these masks will be distributed across the island with the help of eCabs who have generously provided us with drivers to facilitate the delivery of the materials to the 115 volunteer’s homes.

MOAS is extremely grateful for the overwhelming response and the generosity of all those who have reached out to us offering their time and support during this challenging time.

We are also grateful to Maltese designer and couturier Luke Azzopardi for donating his time and resources to this project and, for creating this easy to follow YouTube tutorial on how to make MOAS’ CDC approved masks.

For press enquiries, please email [email protected] To find out more about this mission and how to support our work, please email [email protected]

About MOAS

Founded by the Catrambone family in response to a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa that killed 368 people in October 2013, MOAS aims to provide a model for the engagement of civil society in tackling humanitarian crises around the world.

Upon launching its first mission in August 2014, MOAS was the first non-governmental organisation to run a Search and Rescue operation in the Mediterranean. Over the course of three years at sea, MOAS rescued and assisted more than 40,000 children, women and men in the Central Mediterranean and Aegean.

Having suspended SAR operations in August 2017, MOAS continues to monitor the situation at sea, and to advocate for the creation of safe and legal routes to protect desperate people seeking peace and security. In December 2017, in partnership with UNHCR, we organised an aerial evacuation mission to fly 74 vulnerable individuals out of Libya to safety in Niger.

In September 2017 we shifted our operational focus to Bangladesh, where we delivered 40 tonnes of humanitarian aid to support the government’s response to a massive influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar. Our team in Cox’s Bazar set up two Aid Stations, or primary health centres, to serve the refugee camps of Shamlapur and Unchiprang, as well as the local Bangladeshi communities.

To December 2018, the MOAS Aid Stations provided vital care and medication to over 90,000 patients. In April 2018, following reported sightings of Rohingya attempting to flee Myanmar by boat, we also ran a month-long observation mission in the Andaman Sea, drawing international attention to the need for a coordinated Search and Rescue strategy in the region.

Our mission in Bangladesh is now focused on delivering Flood and Water Safety Training to Rohingya volunteers, empowering refugees to support their own communities in preparing for the dangers of the monsoon season. Meanwhile we are also working in Yemen to deliver vital pharmaceutical aid and famine relief to alleviate suffering and save lives.

If you are interested in the work of MOAS and our partners, please follow us on social media, sign up to our newsletter and share our content. You can also reach out to us any time via [email protected] If you want to support our operations, please give what you can at www.moas.eu/donate.