Thu Aug 20, 2015 02:19PM
This image shows members of Red Cross watching migrants  on the rocks off the coast of Ventimiglia, Italy, on June 14, 2015. (AFP Photo)
This image shows members of Red Cross watching migrants on the rocks off the coast of Ventimiglia, Italy, on June 14, 2015. (AFP Photo)

The Red Cross chief has sharply criticized Europe’s indifference on migrant crisis, urging the world to "wake up" to the scope of the problem.

"We have to stop the indifference," Elhadj As Sy, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), told AFP in an interview.

Sy said the IFRC has already warned the European Union against a dramatic rise in the number of migrants and refugees flooding into the 28-nation bloc.

"When will everybody wake up to see that it is a real crisis?" he asked

Sy said the EU‘s 2.4-billion-euro budget allocation to fund humanitarian aid needed by states facing the influx of migrants was not enough to handle the crisis, insisting that the continent "can do much more, and do much better."

He said the response so far "is nowhere near the scale of the problems that we are seeing."

Sy added that the only way to stop the illegal flow of migrants was to increase legal means of migration.

"The more legal room you have (to migrate), the less room you will have for criminal activity," he said.

Sy said that simply cracking down on migrants at EU entry points would not work.

This image taken in the Italian port of Augusta in Sicily on April 16, 2015, shows shipwrecked migrants listening to instructions by a Red Cross personnel. (AFP Photo)

 

More than 2,400 people have perished trying to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year. Many desperate migrants are often hoarded into rickety boats by ruthless traffickers.

Most of migrants flee hardships imposed on them in ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.

Czech President Milos Zeman said recently that the Western military intervention in the Middle East and North Africa was to blame for the huge influx of migrants into Europe.