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Aquarius: What now for the migrants?

A crew member hugs a migrant child aboard the Aquarius rescue ship
A crew member hugs a migrant child aboard the Aquarius rescue ship Copyright  Kenny Karpov/SOS Mediterranee/Handout via Reuters
Copyright  Kenny Karpov/SOS Mediterranee/Handout via Reuters
By Euronews
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Aquarius: What now for the migrants?


As the Aquarius and two Italian ships sailed into the Spanish port of Valencia, a week-long emotional and physical rollercoaster came to an end - not only for the migrants but also for the aid workers who weren't in the media spotlight.

Aloys Vimard is a coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) on the Aquarius rescue ship.

“It was a very intense time. We spent eight days with these beautiful people, so peaceful", he told euronews correspondent Cristina Giner. "I feel lucky that I could meet and spend time with them. It was quite emotional to see these people leaving, we are wishing them the best, they deserve it”.

But staying out of spotlight and having compassion for the refugees doesn't mean the aid workers weren't troubled by the situation.

Different NGOs involved in this crisis have slammed European authorities for failing the refugees when they were at their weakest

"This standoff shows how Europe, one of the richest continents in the world, has lost its moral compass in the Mediterranean," says Karline Kleijer, head of the MSF Emergency Desk. "And people rescued at sea, survivors of horrible situations, their needs should come first, they should come before politics and they should have been brought to the nearest port for the disembarkation".

So now that this appeal for European solidarity and greater concern for refugees will be brought to a head - what will become of the Aquarius migrants?

Cristina Giner explains:

"Migrants on the Aquarius have finally arrived on land. But their journey is not over. Now the Spanish government will provide a six-week visa for humanitarian reasons. But whether they decide to stay in Spain or go to France they will have to handle red tape issues either to claim their right to asylum or to be granted residency”.

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