The International Organization for Migration revealed that more than 1,750 migrants have perished in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, 30 times more than in the same period of 2014. The European Commission has urged EU members to tackle the health challenges posed by the influx of asylum seekers in the Mediterranean, including sharing hospital resources.
Ladislav Miko, commission official, said, "The emergency is there, now, it's concrete. There was suffering which needs to be addressed very fast. EU states faced by the migrant crisis, such as Italy or Spain, were unable to handle hundreds of patients in a single day who were dehydrated and required hospital care."
Miko suggested moving migrant patients to hospitals in countries less directly affected by the crisis along with the rapid deployment of emergency kits, logistical support and vaccines. Miko said, "The commission had asked the most affected states including Italy, Malta, Greece and Cyprus, to outline their immediate needs and had called an urgent meeting of its health security committee for Tuesday."
Guntis Belevics, Latvian Health Minister, said, "Cyprus notably mentioned that the government requires the assistance of other countries to transport these patients. Cyprus, Malta, Greece and other southern countries asked the EU to share the expenditure required."
At talks in Luxembourg on Monday, EU ministers agreed on a 10-point plan to double the resources available to the bloc's much-criticized maritime border patrol mission Triton, and further measures were to be discussed at a summit of EU leaders on Thursday.