Heart-rending Moment

A PHOTOGRAPH of a drowned migrant baby in the arms of a German rescuer was distributed on Monday by a humanitarian organization aiming to persuade European authorities to ensure safe passage to migrants, after hundreds are feared to have drowned in the Mediterranean last week.
The baby, who appears to be no more than a year old, was pulled from the sea on Friday after the capsizing of a wooden boat. Forty-five bodies arrived in the southern Italian port of Reggio Calabria on Sunday aboard an Italian navy ship, which picked up 135 survivors from the same incident. German humanitarian organization Sea-Watch, operating a rescue boat in the sea between Libya and Italy, distributed the picture taken by a media production company on board and which showed a rescuer cradling the child like a sleeping baby.
In an email, the rescuer, who gave his name as Martin but did not want his family name published, said he had spotted the baby in the water “like a doll, arms outstretched”. “I took hold of the forearm of the baby and pulled the light body protectively into my arms at once, as if it were still alive … It held out its arms with tiny fingers into the air, the sun shone into its bright, friendly but motionless eyes.” The rescuer, a father of three and by profession a music therapist, added:
“I began to sing to comfort myself and to give some kind of expression to this incomprehensible, heart-rending moment. Just six hours ago this child was alive.” The boat carrying the baby left the shores of Libya near Sabratha late on Thursday, and then began to take on water, according to accounts by survivors collected by Save the Children on Sunday. Hundreds were on board when it capsized, the survivors said.—Reuters

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