Mediterranean migrant and refugee arrivals top 90 000 in 2016 so far – IOM

International Organization for Migration (IOM) monitors in the eastern Mediterranean said this week that cold weather contributed to a sharp drop in arrivals in Greece from Turkey, although the number topped 3350 on February 17, after many days of slow movement, IOM said on February 19.

During the past week, IOM has learned of a single death on this route, a boy believed to have been travelling with a family from Afghanistan.

IOM unofficial data indicates that 937 241 migrants and refugees arrived between January 1 2015 and Febuary 17 2016 through Greece’s maritime borders, suggesting that the figure will likely reach one million by mid-March.

Separately, on February 19 Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said that Border Police had taken into custody 37 foreign nationals found to have crossed the border into the country illegally.

The group was found when police from Tsarevo stopped a UK-registered Ford Transit van and found the 37 – 10 men, 13 women and 14 children.

The driver, a 47-year-old Bulgarian from the village of Branitsa in the Knezha municipality, was arrested and faces fast-track court proceedings on charges of people-trafficking.

The foreign nationals were handed over the regional office of the Migration Directorate in the Black Sea city of Bourgas for their identities to be established.

(Photo: Jason Florio/MOAS EU)



The Sofia Globe staff

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