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The initiative “Warm Up” has been presented at the national conference of Caritas Italy which recently took place in Sacrofano from the 18th to the 21st of April. The latter will help Italian Navy’s commands in the rescue of migrants.

The project has been presented by the admiral Andrea Gueglio, commander of the mission EUNAVFOR MED – Operation Sophia. Launched in june 2015, this European Union mission has, in the last months, saved thousands of women, men and children that risked their lives to reach the Old Continent. Rescue operations in the Mediterran Sea are particularly complex and atmospherical conditions can ever worsen the situation. For this reason, it is not rare to come across hypothermic cases in people that have been rescued, a situation that can only be solved if sanitary interventions are rapid and if dry clothes are available.

In order to face this problem, Caritas Italy is committed to furnish clothes and shoes to Operation Sophia’s command that will redistribute them to refugees during rescue operations. Caritas has named this project “Warm up” and has introduced to everybody the diocesan representatives that were present at the conference in Sacrofano as an additional sign of proximity to those that arrive in our communities who are escaping from wars, hunger, environmental disasters, political and religious persecutions.

Oliviero Forti, the responsible for Immigration at Caritas Italy, explained that “the joined project takes shape thanks to the will of collaboration between two realities, Caritas and EUNAVFOR MED, which in different but complementary ways are committed to safeguard the life and the rights of those who are trying to reach Europe. Ships that partecipate to search and rescue operations at sea are on front line to subtract people from a destiny that, unfortunately, has seen over 3.500 lives drown in the Mediterranean sea. Caritas, on the other hand, by guaranteeing asylum, attempts to restitute hope and trust in the future to refugees”.

In the next few weeks, the first safety kits (composed by a suit, underwear, socks and shoes) will be delivered to the port of Augusta. “The idea of distributing dry clothes in the immediacy of the rescue operation at sea – concludes Forti – is an additional sign of proximity to those people that went, before that moment, through very difficult times. After several hours at sea in very difficult conditions, a warm and dry garment is the first welcoming action that our country can offer to men, women and children in order to warm up their hearts”. Commenting the project, the cardinal Francesco Montenegro, president of Caritas Italy and archbishop of Agrigento, he underlined that “until a men will be willing to give its heart there will be margin for change”.

Moreover, Caritas Italy has confirmed its involvement in migrants’ origin countries – in particular thanks to the campaign “Il diritto di rimanere nella propria terra” – but also alongside all refugees’ paths and in some countries of arrival. In Syria and in neighbouring countries, in Gaza, in Iraq, health assistance, food, accommodations, first necessity goods, instruction, protection for women and children and psychological assistance for war-related trama are furnished every day. Thanks to the support of Caritas Italy, in Eastern Europe, Caritas of majorly implicated countries have activated themselves for helping this completely deprived human tide by furnishing food, water, hygiene material, diapers.

Following the Pope’s request of extending asylum to all applicants, to grant international protection in parishes, in religious communities, in monasteries and shrines, but also on the basis of italian bishops’ vademecum, we witnessed, during the last months, to a significative and concerned activation. Caritas developed the latter in a report which was emblematically called “The refugees’ spring and the role of the ecclesial network in Italy”. It emerges that, in date 15 of april 2016, 22.044 first help center are present in 196 dioceses.

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