International Medical Corps is working to respond to the significant amount of need created by the current refugee crisis in Europe. UNHCR estimates that more than 1,000,000 refugees from Syria-as well as from other conflict-ridden places such as Iraq and Afghanistan-traversed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2015. Since January 1, 2016, more than 300,000 refugees and migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other nations have reached Europe by sea.
Concern grows as refugees and migrants traveling by sea are able to carry very little with them and are in need of basic supplies-such as clothing, sleeping bags, hygiene items-once they arrive in Europe. They also have limited access to basic primary care and pregnant women require prenatal and obstetric care. Moreover, many sanitation facilities are insufficient to meet the needs of the arrivals, and safe drinking water is not always available.
As a leader in the current refugee response in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, International Medical Corps has extensive experience in refugee settings. International Medical Corps has been providing emergency services that include: primary health care, reproductive health, psychosocial support, water, sanitation and hygiene services, and the distribution of urgently needed relief materials in Greece.
This response will have a long-term impact on the refugees being served as well as the host communities receiving them. While ensuring that refugees are well equipped to survive in their new environment much of the burden placed on host communities will be alleviated. This will promote the long-term stability of local healthcare infrastructure and support systems, both critically needed now and in the future.