Valencia, 17 June 2018 Red Cross emergency teams are assisting hundreds of people who disembarked this morning from the Aquarius and two accompanying vessels at the Spanish port of Valencia.

The people spent almost a week at sea after being rescued from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya. Some are in need of medical attention, having suffered hypothermia, dehydration and other injuries.

Today we witness a powerful expression of our first humanitarian principle of humanity itself – the one humanity we all share,” said Elhadj As Sy, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who is in Valencia.

Thank you to the government and people of Spain for welcoming where others rejected. Thank you to the tireless staff and volunteers of the Spanish Red Cross, for showing compassion to over 600 extremely vulnerable people today, and for already tending to the needs of some 9,000 people who have arrived on Spanish shores this year.

This sad odyssey of the people on The Aquarius is another reminder that all people, regardless of their nationality or immigration status, should have access to basic assistance and protection. No human being is ‘illegal’, and people who need help should receive help,” said Mr Sy.

Aquarius was greeted by a Spanish Red Cross Emergency Response Team which will provide medical assistance and psychological support, and will be distributing basic items such as blankets, clothes and hygiene kits.

The teams have prepared to identify those who require special assistance, such as unaccompanied minors or families with small children. They have also been trained to identify possible victims of human trafficking and those in need of special protection. Pregnant women and people who require medical treatment are being transferred to local hospitals.

The Spanish Red Cross has a roster of 2,000 staff and volunteers able to respond at 24-hour notice. On Friday 15 June it met more than 680 people arriving at three different locations in Andalucía.

For high quality images, please visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cruzroja150/sets/72157697435318474/

For more information and to arrange interviews with IFRC Secretary General, Elhadj As Sy, please contact:

In Valencia: John Phillips, +41 79 217 3376, john.phillips@ifrc.org

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