Crisis in Europe accelerates as conflict continues to rage in Middle East

Published: 16 February 2016 21:46 CET

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from across the migratory route in Europe gathered in London this week as concerns over the ongoing crisis grow.

This year has seen the pace of migration accelerate – 403 people have died and 82,000 travelled to Europe so far, more than January to April 2015 combined.  The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was joined by colleagues on Monday and Tuesday from 33 countries across Europe as they gear up to respond to the escalating migration crisis.

IFRC director for Europe, Simon Missiri, said: “With more than one million people expected to arrive in Europe this year and no end in sight to the conflict in the Middle East, the migrant crisis has only just begun.”

The relentless emergency presents an unprecedented challenge for Europe  - one that the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is striving to respond to with tens of thousands of volunteers working in countries across the route from Turkey to Iceland.

Missiri said: “Future generations will look back on this period and judge how the world responded – we have to step up and put humanity at the heart of everything.”

The recent surge in people trying to escape bombing in Aleppo, for example, indicates how volatile the situation remains in conflict-ravaged countries such as Syria and how the need for protection for those fleeing violence continues to be pivotal. The Red Cross and Red Crescent is working in 28 countries across the migratory route, and every day sees the impact of reactive and inconsistent policies which fail to put humanitarian needs first.