Seeking safety in Europe
THE BIGGEST REFUGEE CRISIS SINCE WORLD WAR II
RECORD NUMBERS ARRIVING IN EUROPE|TRANSIENT POPULATION|5 YEARS OF WAR
The number of migrant and refugee arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 has now surpassed 590,000—more than twice the number of arrivals in all of 2014 and more than eight times the number of arrivals the previous year.
With Hungary’s tighter border restrictions, the escalating crisis in Syria, and the threat of the approaching winter, more and more refugees are using alternative routes to reach European Union (EU) countries. An estimated 6,000 to 7,000 people are entering Serbia from Macedonia each day.
International Medical Corps teams are on the ground in Serbia, partnering with a local organization, International Aid Network (IAN), to provide medical care and psychosocial support to refugees and migrants transiting Serbia on the way to other destinations. According to the Government of Serbia, more than 200,000 people have entered Serbia since the beginning of 2015; more than 39,000 people arrived in the country since the start of October.
Mobile response: International Medical Corps started to operate a Mobile Medical Unit (MMU) in collaboration with a local partner, International Aid Network (IAN). The MMU has been providing services to refugees at two field sites: a one stop centre in Principovac, near the border with Croatia, and in the park near the bus station in Belgrade, the biggest informal gathering place for refugees in Belgrade. The MMU, which consists of a medical doctor, a nurse, a psychologist and an interpreter, is conducting field visits on a daily basis. The team has already conducted more than 600 medical consultations.
Supporting local health workers: The MMU is working together with local health centres to overcome the existing challenges, including a shortage of medicine and lack of interpreters, making communication with patients difficult. The presence of on Arabic interpreter within the MMU team has been met with positive feedback from refugees, as well as colleagues from governmental medical teams.
Mental health: We provide mental health support to Syrians affected by the conflict, including basic psycho-social support. This includes emotional comfort, help to feel calm, listening, information about stress reactions and# encouraging positive coping. More than 225 refugees have already benefitted from Psychological First Aid consultations in the first weeks of operations.
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