Close to 300 000 migrants and refugees have reached Europe between the start of 2016 and mid-September, with most of them entering through Greece and Italy, according to an update from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Of the total of 294 450 migrants and refugees, 126 931 arrived via Italy and 165 015 via Greece – the former seeing slight increase compared to the January to end of September 2015 period, and the latter experienced a fall of almost 50 per cent compared to the same time period, from 381 996 to 165 015.
“While arrivals to Italy in 2016 largely have tracked 2015’s monthly arrival patterns, those to Greece have diverged sharply – with many fewer migrants and refugees coming from Turkey this year compared with last year,” IOM said in the update, quoted by the UN News Centre.
IOM said that that while total arrival numbers are down, fatalities among Mediterranean migrants and refugees now stand, up to this past weekend, at 3207 – exceeding by 456 the total recorded during the same period last year.
The migration agency noted that, according to its Missing Migrants Project – which tracks deaths of migrants and those who have gone missing along migratory routes worldwide – Mediterranean fatalities for last year stood at 2751 up to September 12 2015.
In recent years, Greece and Italy have become the main port of entry for many refugees and migrantstrying to reach Europe by sea.
As for Europe’s southern Mediterranean region as a whole, from January to the end of August, IOM noted that a total of 354 618 arrivals were recorded crossing the Mediterranean, or about 60 000 more than 2016’s total so far.
(Photo: Jamie Dettmer/VOA)