Over 210 000 migrants, refugees crossed to Europe by sea so far in 2016

An estimated 210 643 migrants and refugees had come to Europe by sea in 2016 by June 12, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a weekly report.

Deaths during attempted crossings of the Mediterranean so far in 2016 added up to 2859, compared with 1838 in the first six months of 2015.

“In other words, fatalities on the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 stand at 1020 ahead of last year’s mid-year total, although we remain three weeks shy of 2016’s mid-year point,” IOM said.

IOM’s Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said on June 13 that more than 3180 migrants had been rescued at sea and brought to land since IOM’s June 10 regular report.

He said that the majority of migrants likely sailed from Libya. Other rescue operations were carried out on June 12, whose rescued migrants were to land in Italy on Monday and today. IOM estimated that 51 965 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year.

Egyptian migrants are increasing their arrivals to both Italy and Greece, IOM said.

Between January and May 2016, a total of 1815 Egyptian irregular migrants landed on Italian shores, including 1147 (78 per cent) unaccompanied migrant children, ranking Egypt as the 10th top “sender” country of irregular migrants to that country and the top sending of unaccompanied migrant children.

In 2015, the number of Egyptian irregular migrants arriving in Greece almost reached 1000.

Amr Taha, the head of IOM’s Egypt office, explained one of the drivers of irregular migration: “Egypt’s economic growth is insufficient to absorb labour market entrants, in turn resulting in high unemployment prompting youth to find work opportunities abroad.

“High birth rates mean entrance to the job market will continue to further outstrip job opportunities for many years to come; therefore, there is need to create regular emigration channels to address unemployment and maximize the impact of remittances on economic growth,” Taha said.

(Archive photo: IOM/Francesco Malavolta)



The Sofia Globe staff

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