Two-day-old infant and mother airlifted to Malta from migrant boat
December 22 2018 07:20 PM
The migrant mother and child airlifted by Armed Forces of Malta
The mother and child airlifted by Armed Forces of Malta. Photo courtesy: Proactiva Open Arms' Facebook page


A two-day-old infant and his mother were airlifted to Malta on Saturday, after they were rescued from a boat carrying more than 300 migrants in the Mediterranean. 
The infant and his 23-year-old mother were flown to a hospital in Malta on board a helicopter, the Armed Forces of Malta said in a short statement. 
The baby needed medical assistance but his condition is stable, hospital sources told dpa.
The fate of the 311 other migrants remains unknown, according to the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, whose rescue boat picked them up on board a dinghy off Libya. 
"More than 300 people saved from certain death at sea. No port where to disembark and Malta has refused to give us food it is not Christmas in the Mediterranean. We are in urgent need of provisions," the NGO said in a Facebook post. 
The Maltese government later told the Times of Malta that the migrants were intercepted inside a Libyan search and rescue area. Malta conducted the medical evacuation outside its own waters on humanitarian grounds, going beyond its legal obligations, a spokesman said.
He added that the vessel had enough provisions on board to head towards Spain, but had chosen "to proceed south instead and keep loitering at sea waiting deliberately for the situation to deteriorate."
Meanwhile, Italy's right-wing deputy prime minister said in a tweet: "Italy's ports are shut. For the traffickers of human beings and for those who help them, it's over."
Italy and Malta have been at loggerheads over who should assume responsibility for migrants rescued at sea, amid growing indifference to the problem at EU level. 

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