Newborn twins among 6,500 migrants rescued from Mediterranean

A man carries his 5-day-old son after being rescued from a crowded wooden vessel in the Mediterranean Sea. The pair were fleeing from Libya. PHOTO: CNN

A five-day-old newborn peers out from a pink blanket. His dark, almond-shaped eyes stare directly at the camera, his tiny hand tucked underneath his chin.

His short life has been anything but easy.

He, his twin brother and his mother were among the 6,500 refugees and migrants rescued in a 30-hour period while attempting to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean.

Médecins Sans Frontières’ ship Dignity 1 and the Spanish humanitarian group Proactiva Open Arms rescued people who were aboard 15 rubber boats and one wooden vessel Monday.

The twins and their mother were transferred via Medevac for treatment in Italy, according to a tweet from MSF.

As many as 3,000 of the migrants were rescued off the coast of Libya by MSF, Proactiva Open Arms and Italian coast guard crews and one rescue took place in Maltese waters.

A total of 40 different rescue operations were responsible for bringing in the 6,500 migrants and refugees, including European Union’s Marine mission “Sophia,” which fights smugglers; and Frontex, the European Agency tasked with border security.

The Italian coast guard said the rescued migrants are being taken to ports in Calabria and Sicily.

CNN recently witnessed the rescue of 366 migrants and refugees by the private humanitarian agency Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The rescuers pulled people, mostly from African nations, from waters a few miles north of the Libyan city of Sabratha. Read the tale of that desperate day at sea.

The number of people plucked from sea on Monday was much higher than the average. Just two weeks ago, in the week that started August 14, the route was used by 2,197 migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration. Monday’s rate nearly tripled that weekly amount.