The European Commission said Friday it has awarded an additional 11 million euros in emergency funding to Greece and Italy to strengthen the migrant reception and registration capacity of Greek authorities and support the Italians’ search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
In a statement Friday, the European Union’s executive arm said that 7.3 million euros will go to Greece’s reception and identification service to bolster the capacity of reception and medical services, particularly on the eastern Aegean islands.
An extra 500,000 euros have been earmarked for technical projects aimed at improving the water supply network and sewage system connection at the hot spot on Samos island, the Commission said.
Total emergency assistance to Greece is now around 353 million euros since the beginning of 2015, it said.
In addition, the Commission said that 2.2 million euros will be awarded to the Italian Coast Guard to fund the on-board provision of food for rescued individuals and to help finance costs for personnel involved in search and rescue operations. It said an additional 1 million euros will be allocated for equipment for the Italian Navy to improve the medical screening of migrants rescued at sea.
In a related development, the International Organization for Migration said Friday that more than 3,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, nearly a 60-percent increase from this time in 2015.