Its been a long time since I was hugged like this’: Aquarius girl, 12, to rescuer.
An aid worker revealed the heart-wrenching phrase uttered by a 12-year-old orphan as she stepped off the boat and into his arms at Valencia port on Sunday.
“Its been a long time since anyone gave me a hug like this,” the child told Fernando Justa, a volunteer with the Red Cross during the disembarkation in Valencia of 629 migrants rescued by the Aquarius.
The girl who is reportedly from Guinea-Conakry had frozen with fear and was unable to step off the life boat onto the quayside.
But Justa described how he talked calmly to her and encourage her to step forward by holding out a cuddly toy. He then scooped her up in his arms as she took her first steps onto Spanish soil.
The volunteer said he would never forget those first words.
“We need to keep working to continue putting the smiles back on all their faces,” he told La Sexta.
Una niña del Aquarius a un voluntario de Cruz Roja: "Hace mucho tiempo que nadie me daba un abrazo como éste" https://t.co/QtqT9ATth6
— laSexta (@laSextaTV) June 18, 2018
The girl was one of 124 minors aged between 3 and 16 to arrive in the flotilla transporting the migrants to Valencia after they were turned away from Italy and Malta.