Who thought 2015 was an exceptional year of refugee arrivals in Europe might be very wrong, says the International Organization for Migration (OIM).
Since the beginning of 2016, IOM estimates that 31,244 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece by sea. This is some 21 times as many as the 1,472 recorded by the Greek Coast Guard for the whole of January 2015.
The number suggests that the number of maritime arrivals in Greece in 2016 may significantly exceed the record 853,650 migrants who arrived in Greece by sea in 2015.
Some 48 per cent of Greece’s 2016 arrivals have been Syrians, 29 per cent Afghans, 12 per cent Iraqis, 3 per cent Pakistanis and 2 per cent Iranians. Other nationalities have included Algerians, Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Eritreans, Lebanese and Moroccans.
Almost 90 per cent of the newly arrived migrants are nationals of countries (Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis) that are allowed to cross Greece’s border with Macedonia. According to the Greek police, almost 31,100 have already crossed the Greek-Macedonia borders this month.
In 2015, 153,842 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy in while in 2014 there were 170,100 arrivals.
“Although it may seem that Italy in 2015 registered a decrease in arrivals, we must consider that in 2014 Syria was the most represented country of origin of migrants reaching Italian shores, while in 2015 this flow decreased since Syrians predominantly reached Europe through the Greek route. Indeed, if we do not include Syrians, the number of Nigerians, Somalis and Sudanese who arrived in Italy by sea in 2015 have more than doubled compared to last year, while the most represented country of origin has been Eritrea (39,162 arrivals)” said OIM spokesperson Di Giacomo.
International Organization for Migration