Surge in migrant arrivals in Greece – IOM

Written by on October 16, 2015 in Europe - Comments Off on Surge in migrant arrivals in Greece – IOM

Since the beginning of October 2015, more than 68 000 migrants have now crossed into Greece, with most – close to 42 000 – arriving on the island of Lesvos, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on October 16.

Smaller numbers have arrived on the islands of Samos (10 283) and Chios (6 393), IOM said. Despite deteriorating weather conditions, the flow of migrants and refugees arriving at the main entry points continues to average more than 4500 a day.

The Eastern Mediterranean route is also becoming deadlier, IOM said. Two shipwreck incidents were recorded off the coast of Lesvos in less than 24 hours this week. At least 10 migrants are believed to have died.

On October 14, a wooden boat carrying 24 migrants capsized off the Turkish coast just before midnight. The Turkish Coast Guard managed to rescue 21 migrants, who informed authorities that three people were missing. The Hellenic Coast Guard began search operations and on October 15, recovered three bodies off Lesvos’ Mithimna port. The dead were identified as Syrian nationals, all female, an adult, one child and one infant.

Another incident was reported off the coast of Lesvos that same morning as a wooden boat said to have been carrying at least 35 migrants capsized. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 39 migrants. Eight more people are believed to be missing. IOM staff in Lesvos report that the remains of seven victims (four children, two women and a man) already have been recovered. A mother with one surviving child has reportedly been asked to identify the remains of three other children, thought to be hers.

According to data provided by Greek authorities and collected by IOM regional staff in Greece, more than 472,000 migrants have arrived by sea to Greece as of October 15.

Figures for January 1 to September 30 2015 show that, out of about 393 000 arrivals in Greece, the most represented country of origin was Syria (277 899), followed by Afghanistan (76 620), Iraq (21 552) and Pakistan (14 323.) In 2014, during the same period, arrivals registered in Greece totalled 31 000, IOM said.

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