Published: Wed, June 20, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Spain rescues more than 900 boat migrants, finds four bodies

Spain rescues more than 900 boat migrants, finds four bodies

"At this moment, the boat is arriving in Spain with 629 presumed refugees and so I thank the Spanish government".

The head of Doctors Without Borders in Spain says he's glad that Spain has allowed an aid convoy with 630 migrants to dock but he's anxious about European nations closing their ports to those rescued at sea.

The first person through the process was a 29-year-old man from South Sudan.

Noguera said more needs to be done to find better solutions for the migrant and refugee issues that European countries are facing. "Put yourself in their position, you get off a ship and the first people who greet you are wearing masks".

With Italy's new coalition government - an unlikely mix of populist political neophytes of far-right and leftist persuasions - only weeks old but already ruffling feathers with Salvini's scrappy approach, Europe's already hard conversation about migration is about to get even more strained.

Spanish authorities have said they will examine the migrants case-by-case to see if they qualify for asylum according to the country's regulations.

The Aquarius, which has been at the centre of the crisis, sailed into Valencia harbour about 10:30 am (0830 GMT) with 106 migrants on board to applause from police, health workers and translators waiting on the pier.

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Spain's Foreign Minister Josep Borrell. "Spending time with people, listening to some of the torturous situations that they've been through, was really one of the most challenging parts of the entire operation".

Upon arrival, the seven pregnant women on board the boats were immediately taken for check-ups, and everyone on board, including 123 minors, will receive psychological help, Spanish Red Cross officials said.

Italy and Malta had denied entry to the rescue ship last Saturday.

Spain took in the migrants after Italy and Malta refused to.

"They are very happy to have arrived at the port, very excited and hopeful", Moreno, who travelled from the southwestern region of Andalusia to help with the migrant reception, told AFP.

Valencia's Mayor Joan Ribo, who has offered the ship a safe berth, described Italy's decision to turn the vessel away as inhuman.

The rescued people stayed on the Navy boat for several more days before being transferred to the Italian coast guard vessel this morning.

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The government said in a Saturday statement that France has offered to take in eligible migrants who wish to go to France.

Malta refused to take the boat, saying it had nothing to do with the rescue, which was coordinated by Italy's coast guard.

They come from 26 countries, mainly from Africa but also Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

More than 1.8 million migrants have arrived in Europe since 2014, and Italy is now sheltering more than 170,000 asylum seekers, as well as an estimated 500,000 unregistered migrants.

In this conrtexto, Ambassador of France has called vice-President in last few hours and has made available to him all necessary means to take French cities to Aquarius immigrants who express ir desire to settle in that country.

He said Paris' offer to take in some migrants "in need of protection" is meant both to show French cooperation with Spain and to "encourage. a coordinated response among European Union member states" for all challenges linked to migration.

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