Sligo doctor involved in Mediterranean refugee rescue

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HELP: Sligo docotr Conor Kenny works with MSF.

A Sligo doctor was involved in the rescue of 6,000 migrants in the Mediterranean sea over the weekend.

Conor Kenny, originally from Ballincar in Sligo, is a doctor with Médecins San Frontiéres (Doctors Without Borders) and was involved in the rescue of close to 700 people on Friday last while on board the MV Aquarius.

Doctor Kenny spoke to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this week about the rescue.

“On Friday morning at around 6am we were directed to a boat in distress by the Italian Search and Rescue Committee in Rome. When we began the rescue of that boat, we could then see another eight boats.

“Over the course of the day we were working with other rescuers and we managed to rescue a total of 25 boats. In all that was about 2,000 people which is an incredible amount of rescuing to be doing in one day,” he said.

The nature of the rescues are described as “difficult” by Doctor Kenny. Many of the vessels that migrants are travelling on from Libya and other Mediterranean countries are poorly equipped for the open sea.

Additionally, there were other complications such as a fuel spillage.
“We were dealing with a fuel spillage so when some of the people made their way on to our boat, we had to treat them for fuel burns. Some of them were very severe. For us in the doctors without borders clinic, it will be hard to forget the screams of the many women inside who we were treating,” he said.

More from Conor Kenny’s interview can be found in this week’s Sligo Weekender.

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