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01/15/16: Pulled from my bunk at 11.45pm, by the sound of the 2-way radio next to my bed, crackling to life. One of the MOAS crew, on watch up on the bridge, saw a ping on the radar that went fast and then stopped – he raised the alarm and within 20 minutes we were at the scene. Screams from the dark, the odd flash of a reflector on a life jacket, an overturned white speed boat, with a blue hull. Old men, women, and children were hauled and pulled, their heaviness (not just from the weight of the water, but the weight of children strapped onto their mothers), onto the FRDC. We plucked and pulled, responding to yells from the void.
All came home alive and safe (to the Topaz Responder), except for three babies, who had already perished before we reached their capsized boat… one mother lost two.
A sad night on the front line.
In doing so, with more than 100 subjects, Florio has created a humanizing counterpoint to the images that have dominated the narrative of the migration crisis so far. “I know it sounds cliché, but I felt these portraits were an effective way to find the individual in the whole mess. All the images of migrants we’ve seen are of chaotic hordes. I thought it was important to give them a space to represent themselves.” VQR – read full feature and see more portraits and rescue images here
More updates to follow soon.
Wishing everyone a safe, peaceful, and happy holidays
Since May, 2015, Jason Florio has been basing out of Malta, Europe, working with MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), on board the Phoenix , to document the migrant and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya.
To view more of Florio’s footage, from the rescues, please check out ‘Film & Video’