Over 600,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean so far this year and over 3,100 have died or gone missing, according to an announcement by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Friday. The actual figure this year stands at over 613,000 migrants and refugees accessing Europe via the Mediterranean Sea: close to 473,000 landed in Greece and 137,000 in Italy, said the IOM.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), most were from Syria, Syrians representing 69% of all arrivals in Greece. UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards states that October was generally ‘quieter’ than September, apart from the last few days when 70-80 boats arrived in Greece daily. On Wednesday, 85 boats docked on the Greek island of Lesbos which represents the first on European land for many migrants travelling form Turkey.
“The rise (…) may be due to better weather conditions and a rush to travel before winter sets in. Another reason may be that migrants and refugees may also be worried the European borders will be shut off in the near future,” explained Mr Edwards at a press conference in Geneva.
According to Unicef, September saw 4,000-6,000 people arriving in Greece each day, hitting a peak of 9,000 on October 9th. Mr Boulierac stressed the need to set up a “more detailed and reliable database” of children currently arriving in Europe.