Beirut/Geneva, 21 September 2016 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) deplores continued global inaction in response to Mediterranean tragedies, after a boat carrying up to 600 migrants capsized off Egypt.

At least 42 people have been confirmed as drowned when the boat sank 12 kilometres from the shores of Rasheed town in Kafr Al Sheikh governorate.

While 150 people have already been rescued, including 5 who were severely injured and brought to hospital, the search and rescue operation is continuing in an attempt to save more lives.

“This is a reminder of the urgent need to translate commitments at this week’s UN Migration Summit into concrete action that saves lives and protects human dignity,” said Amelia Marzal, the IFRC’s representative for North Africa.

“More than 3,200 women, men and children already have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. The world must take action to to stop indifference to drownings that are happening almost daily,” added Ms Marzal.

Egyptian Red Crescent Society immediately dispatched psychosocial support and emergency response teams from three governorates to Kafr Al Sheikh to provide services to the survivors. The Red Crescent will also provide blankets and clothing if needed.

Egyptian Red Crescent Society have recently established a department dedicated to migration issues.

“Our trained emergency action, disaster response and psychosocial volunteers are still at the location of the incident helping with rescue,” said Professor Moamena Kamel, Secretary General of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society.

Today’s incident is the second Mediterranean tragedy this week. On Monday, Libyan Red Crescent volunteers retrieved at least 18 migrants’ bodies that were found washed ashore along the country’s coast. The bodies were scattered miles apart, on the shoreline near the towns of Athrun, Cyrene, Darnah, Ras Al Helal and Tobruk. All are believed to be from a single ill-fated boat. Red Crescent teams are still on ground searching for bodies to ensure they are respectfully retrieved, covered, transported and laid to rest.

The IFRC, Italian Red Cross and partner Migrant Offshore Aid Station, support vessels conducting search and rescue in the Mediterranean.

The IFRC reiterates its call to world leaders to ensure vulnerable people seeking safety have access to legal routes.

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Media contacts

Mohamed Mohei
Disaster management coordinator, Egyptian Red Crescent Society
T: @EG_Red_Crescent
M: +20 100 233 8124

Stephen Ryan
Comunication coordinator – Middle East and North Africa, IFRC
T: @stiofanoriain
M: +961 71 802 779

Benoit Carpentier
Team leader – public communications, IFRC
T: @BenoistC
M: +41 79 213 2413