Doctors Chris and Xand van Tulleken want to understand the complex and unique medical challenges this crisis has created.
“In the middle of winter, the medical and logistical challenges facing those making this journey have never been greater. With their medical expertise and humanitarian experience, Chris and Xand are uniquely placed to travel to the front line of this unfolding crisis to tell the story from a medical perspective and will not just stand there, but do something.” – BBC Head of Documentaries Commissioning, Patrick Holland
In a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions, Europe is facing its largest migration since the Second World War. More than a million migrants arrived in Europe last year, with thousands making the perilous crossing to Greece by boat each day
As trained humanitarian response medics, Chris and Xand have worked in disaster zones around the world, but never have they witnessed something unfold so close to home. They are travelling to the front line of the migrant crisis to see for themselves the medical needs of those making this journey. We’ll see medical stories close up and see the decisions that medics have to make that are unique to this every changing situation – and, where possible, they’ll offer help.
Many migrants carry the scars – both mental and physical – of the war-torn countries they have left behind. In the camps, overcrowding and lack of infrastructure is spreading disease. Dangerous and freezing sea crossings bring their own unique challenges, and the hundreds of miles walked on foot exacerbate pre-existing medical conditions or bring new ones about.
They will film in multiple locations – Lesbos in Greece, the Balkans, Germany and France – each with their own unique medical challenges. Embedded with the various medical NGOs working across the continent, and as trained medics themselves, they’ll help out where they can. In Greece, hypothermia, frostbite and trenchfoot are prevalent on the beaches as the sea journey is so brutal. In the Balkans, attempts to stay warm by burning plastic is causing a swathe of respiratory infections, while in Calais, overcrowding is leading to the spread of disease.
The Migrants And Medics will broadcast on BBC One in March 2016.