This morning the Swedish Sea Rescue Society´s Yellow Boats saved 38 people in the Aegean Sea during two separate rescues. All together, we have saved over 1 000 people!
Aboard a small inflatable boat far out to sea, sat the 1000th person, a young man from Afghanistan. He and his three companions were rescued at the last moment from the tiny unseaworthy rubber dinghy.
The Afghan man and six companions had left Turkey early this morning in a very small rubber boat without a motor, rowing over to Greece. Before they even left the Turkish coast, three of them got scared and jumped into the water to swim back to Turkey. The others continued to row. The waves became higher and the wind increased the farther out they came. When they had reached the Greek waters the little rowboat was in real trouble. They were discovered by the Swedish Sea Rescue Society's boats, which shortly before had brought in 34 people that had been stuck on a cliff face on Samos Northeast coast.
Kari Oikarinen is the skipper on board Rescue Handelsbanken Liv, which took onboard the four men.
- It was a really small boat, barely seaworthy even in a calm lake. They were far out at sea when we found them and I do not think the boat would have kept afloat much longer. Large waves splashed over into the boat, and they were in poor condition and very afraid. We drove them to the refugee camp where they now get dry clothes and the opportunity to recover.
Since the Swedish Sea Society launched the operation on Samos at the end of October, rescues of this nature are almost a daily occurrence. After three months, over 1 000 people have been rescued. The project is funded by media group Schibsted and their fundraising campaign Yellow Boats together with Postcode Lottery and private donors.
- There is no reduction in the flow of refugees. UNHCR expects the contrary. More people will flee across the Mediterranean in 2016 than compared to last year, so the effort is definitely needed. I hope that the project will be long-lived, but for that to be possible more money needs to be coming in. How long-term the project is depends entirely on how much money people donate, says Magnus Ringman, HR Director at Aftonbladet and Schibsted Media's project manager for the Yellow boats.
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