Irregular Migrant, Refugee Arrivals in Europe Top One Million in 2015: IOM

Posted: 
12/22/15
Region-Country: 
Europe and Central Asia / Greece
Themes: 
Missing Migrants

Greece - IOM confirmed yesterday (21/12) that over a million irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Europe in 2015, mostly from Syria, Africa and South Asia.

Through the weekend, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix - Flow Monitoring System counted 999,745 irregular arrivals across the Mediterranean, including migrants journeying by both land and sea to Greece, as well as to Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Malta and Cyprus.

With arrivals of 4,141 migrants or refugees landing in Greece on Monday, IOM reports total arrivals to Europe at roughly 1,005,504, with just 3% coming by land.  The total is the highest migration flow since World War II.

 

Till 21 December

Total

Sea

Land

Greece

821,008

816,752

4,256

Bulgaria

29,959

 

29,959

Italy

150,317

150,317

 

Spain

3,845

3,845

 

Malta

106

106

 

Cyprus

269

269

 

TOTAL

1,005,504

971,289

34,215

 

The tally of fatalities also continues to rise, with 20 new deaths recorded in the Eastern Mediterranean since last Friday. This year’s total of migrant/refugee deaths now stands at 3,692 - over 400 more than in 2014 - plus at least 30 more deaths reported by African migrants seeking to enter Europe through Spain’s Canary Islands.

IOM Greece continues to monitor fatalities in the Greek islands, where a growing number of victims are young children. On 19 December a wooden boat carrying 62 migrants capsized off Chios Island and a 2-year old Iraqi boy drowned. According to the Greek Coast Guard, six of the 15 bodies of migrants and refugees to wash up on Greek islands this month have been infants or children.

“We know migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.  “But it’s not enough to count the number of those arriving - or the nearly 4,000 this year reported missing or drowned. We must also act. Migration must be legal, safe and secure for all - both for the migrants themselves and the countries that will become their new homes.”

In December alone, IOM estimates that 67,700 or more migrants have crossed into Greece through the country’s maritime borders.  During the same period, some 52,500 people crossed from Greece into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRoM.) This means that roughly 77% of all migrant arrivals in December already have passed through Greece and into FYROM and other points further north.

Since the beginning of the year, IOM estimates that over 810,000 migrants and refugees have crossed into Greece by sea. Only about 5,000 migrants have crossed into Greece by land.

According to IOM’s monitoring system between 9-20 December 45.6% of migrants crossing Greece’s FYRoM border were male adults; 21.9% were female adults; 35% were accompanied children and 1.5% unaccompanied minors. The vast majority are Syrians, followed by Iraqi and Afghans, as no other nationalities are now allowed to cross.

IOM is offering assisted voluntary return to their country of origin for migrants who have been turned back from the border. An increasing number of migrants, notably Moroccans, are expressing an interest, given the lack of other options to return home safely.

Mediterranean Developments

Arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean: 1 January – 21 December 2015

 Country of Arrival

Arrivals

Deaths

Italy

150,317 (IOM est.)

2,889

(Central Med route)

Malta

106

Greece

816,752

731

(Eastern Med route)

Cyprus

269

Spain

3,845

72
(Western Med and Western African routes)

Estimated Total

971,183

3,692*

  *An additional 32 deaths occurred en route to the Spanish archipelago the Canary Islands.

 

Arrivals BY SEA TO Italy

 1 January – 21 December 2015

150,317 *

        2014 Totals: 170,100 arrived in Italy

Arrivals by sea to Italy
January to November 2014/2015
(source: Italian MoI)
 

2014

2015

January

2,171

3,528

February

3,335

4,354

March

5,459

2,283

April

15,679

16,063

May

14,599

21,221

June

22,641

22,905

July

24,031

23,186

August

24,774

22,607

September

26,107

15,924

October

15,393

8,916

November

9,179

3,218

TOTAL

163,368

144,205

For the latest updates on arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean please visit www.Migration.iom.int/Europe

For further information please contact IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras Tel: +30 210 9912174 Email: iomeathens@iom,.int  or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: Knamia@iom.int

Syrian migrants and refugees at the Serbian-Croatian border. © Francesco Malavolta/IOM 2015
Syrian migrants and refugees at the Serbian-Croatian border. © Francesco Malavolta/IOM 2015