Rescue in the Mediterranean: learning from the Italian experience

Following the February 2016 closure of the “Balkan route” from Greece through the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to Serbia, Italy has served as the main point of entry to Europe for migrants and refugees. The International Organization for Migration reports that between 1 January and 4 June 2017, a total of 71 418 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea; nearly 85% arrived in Italy.

The Italian authorities have gained significant experience in providing search-and-rescue and life-saving interventions to those most in need. To learn from this experience, participants of the WHO/Europe Summer School on Refugee and Migrant Health took part in field trip that included a simulated search-and-rescue operation and triage exercise.