IOM: Greece records highest weekly migration inflows in 2015 so far
Greece saw the highest migration inflows since the beginning of 2015 in the past week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) office in Greece said on October 23.
In spite of deteriorating weather conditions, about 48 000 refugees and migrants crossed from Turkey to the Greek islands – or about 9600 migrants and refugees in each of the past five days, IOM said.
The organisation said that 9113 new arrivals entered on October 17, a further 9237 on October 18, 8617 on October 19, 10 994 on October 20 and 10 024 on October 21.
The influx has left many local authorities unprepared. The island of Lesvos continues to receive the highest percentage of refugees and migrants. About 27 276 reached the island during the period, while 9750 arrived in Chios.
Chios, which was only receiving about 300 migrants a day during the peak summer period, last week saw numbers rise to about 2000 a day, IOM said.
With the growing number of arrivals, there have also been a growing number of deaths at sea, according to IOM Greece staff.
Since October 19, a total of 18 migrants are believed to have lost their lives in two incidents – one on October 19 off the coast of Megisti, the other on October 21 off the coast of Samos.
In the shipwreck off Samos, the Hellenic Coast Guard rescued a 32-year-old Syrian, but 14 others, including his wife, two children and other relatives are missing, believed drowned.
Meanwhile in Italy, so far in the month of October a total of 7447 migrants have been rescued at sea in the Channel of Sicily. No deaths have been recorded since eight bodies (seven women; one man) were shipped on Monday into Taranto, brought by the Spanish ship Rio Segura, which carried a further 633 survivors. Authorities discovered the eight victims in a rubber dinghy carrying 113 migrants. Their cause of death remains unknown.
(Photo: Makeshift lifevests abandoned on the beach at Kos in Greece. (c) IOM 2015)