VOLUNTEERS on the have told heart-wrenching tales of the migrants they helped rescue who docked today (Sunday) in Valencia and embarked on a new life filled with hope. One of them, Fernando Justa, was in tears as he...
Spain to take in 629 migrants rejected by Italy
SPAIN will take in the 629 migrants on board the Aquarius 'for humanitarian reasons' after Italy's right-wing government refused to let them dock in the country.
The would-be refugees were rescued by the charity SOS Méditerranée, but Italian authorities sent them to Malta instead.
Malta, however, also refused to let them disembark on national territory.
Pedro Sánchez's government volunteered to take them, and they are set to dock in the port of Valencia in the next few hours.
Regional president of Valencia, Ximo Puig – on the same party as Sánchez – says he has already given authorisation to Spain's deputy president Carmen Calvo for the craft to dock in the harbour of the country's third-largest city.
Puig slammed other European governments for 'abandoning' the migrants in the Mediterranean, calling it 'deeply unfair'.
Valencia's deputy regional president Mònica Oltra, from the left-wing party Compromís, recalled that her and Puig's cabinet had set up a complete refugee settlement system 'many years ago'.
Town and city councils across the region had set up registers of residents with spare rooms or properties they were willing to put up refugees in, and the passenger ferry company Baleària had offered to throw on boats to bring migrants safely to Valencian shores, but the then PP-led national government would not allow these plans to go ahead as it said refugee resettlement should be 'done by the rule book' and that it had to wait for authorisation from Brussels.
Valencia has long since complained that it has only received the occasional single-figure group of refugees, if any, when it is willing and able to take in several thousand.
The migrants on board the Aquarius spent last night adrift 35 miles out to sea off the coast of Italy and 27 miles from Malta.
Among them are seven pregnant women, 123 unaccompanied children – 11 of whom are very small – and a handful of medics from Doctors Without Borders.
One of the latter, David Beversluis, warned that if they were still out at sea by Tuesday, there would not be enough food to go around.
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