WhatsApp Message Received at Refugee Camp in Croatia Saves 80 Refugees from Drowning in the Aegean Sea

Total Croatia News

Cross border rescue operation was organised in 15 minutes

Since the refugee and migrant crisis started in Europe last year, we’ve heard many stories about the impact social media had on spreading information among refugees and providing them with much needed help. During a press conference held by Croatia’s outgoing Minister of Interior Ranko Ostojić on January 6, 2016, another gripping example of social media’s life saving effects was revealed and published by 24sata.hr.

Minister Ostojić disclosed information about an extensive rescue operation which took place on Sunday, January 3. It started on Sunday morning when one of the refugees currently staying in the refugee camp located in the Croatian town of Slavonski Brod received a message through WhatsApp from a passenger on a boat which was somewhere in the Aegean sea carrying 80 people. It was a distress message since they were caught in a storm, their boat was leaking and they could not get in touch with the Turkish police.

Second message contained exact coordinates so the refugee who received the information immediately contacted the translator at the camp who then informed the UNICEF officer and she informed the refugee camp director. Camp director immediately called the headquarters and all information, including the coordinates of the boat were forwarded to the Turkish navy, which instantly started a search and rescue operation, found the boat and managed to save all 80 people, Ostojić explained.

According to Minister Ostojić, only 15 minutes passed from the moment when the refugee received the message at the refugee camp until the Turkish police and navy were contacted and a rescue mission was launched.


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