Italian Red Cross Support to Rescued Migrants
Migration in the Mediterranean Sea: The Italian Red Cross Response
The Italian Red Cross continues to work tirelessly in the main ports of Sicily, Calabria and Puglia to meet the humanitarian needs of thousands of migrants rescued at sea by the Coast Guards in the Strait of Sicily and off the coast of Libya. Since last Friday, almost 10,000 people have been rescued at sea. Between Tuesday and Wednesday alone, Since yesterday, more than 3,500 people landed on the islands of Sicily and Lampedusa, including several children and pregnant women.
The Italian Red Cross is currently present on the ground with over 100 volunteers and staff, ambulances, vehicles and inflatable tents, providing first aid, food, water, and organising transportation to the closest hospitals. For example in Calabria on Wednesday, the Italian Red Cross provided assistance to 110 migrants, 96 men and 14 women. Yesterday in Reggio Calabria 16 volunteers, including two doctors, have provided assistance to 677 Eritrean and Somali migrants.
The Mediterranean has emerged in recent years as the most dangerous of the world's four major sea routes in use by refugees and migrants. The other three main routes involve the Bahamas and Caribbean, the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and the Bay of Bengal. Last year, some 219,000 refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean, and at least 3,500 lives were lost.
Italian Red Cross volunteers providing assistance to arriving migrants. Photo: Italian Red Cross.
This unacceptable tragedy once again highlights the need to create safe and effective legal avenues into the EU territory for persons in need of international protection.
Red Cross societies in Europe have a long-standing practical experience in working with and for vulnerable migrants; providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance, psychological and administrative support to those seeking safety in Europe. The scarcity of options to enter the EU legally, coupled with the tightening of border controls, pushes migrants and asylum seekers to resort to riskier routes; reinforcing their vulnerability and leaving them at risk of smuggling and exploitation.
Read the Red Cross EU Office's recommendations on asylum and migration in the European Union.
Learn about our position on legal avenues to access international protection in the EU.
Find out more about access to international protection in the EU for people fleeing Syria.