Mediterranean Western Balkans Update - New Numbers from Italy, Greece, the FYROM

Posted: 
09/29/15

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - IOM estimates that some 522,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea since the beginning of the year.  Of those, 388,324 have landed in Greece and 130,891 have reached Italian shores after being rescued on the high seas in the Channel of Sicily, including 2,349 rescued since IOM’s last report released Friday, 25 September. 

Arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean: 1 January – 29 September, 2015

Country of Arrival

Arrivals

Deaths

Italy

130,891 (IOM est.)

2,621

(Central Med route)

Malta

100

Greece

388,324

246

(Eastern Med route)

Spain

2,819

25 

(Western Med and Western African routes)

Estimated Total

522,134

2,892

While the central Mediterranean route has always been the deadliest - with 2,621 migrants drowned or missing so far this year - in the past few weeks an increasing number of incidents have taken place in the Aegean Sea. The last incident happened on Sunday, when seventeen Syrian refugees, including five children, drowned when their boat sank in Turkish waters. According to IOM estimates, 246 migrants have lost their lives this year trying to reach Greece from Turkey.

 “Even if arrivals are still increasing, it is necessary to emphasize that this is not an emergency in terms of numbers,” said the IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, currently at the United Nations for the 70th General Assembly.

“Countries with far fewer resources that the European Union are hosting millions of refugees in the Middle East and thousands more migrants are on the move in many African countries. What we are seeing in Europe is a consequence of a much bigger phenomenon. Wars, regimes, extreme poverty and climate change are forcing an increasing number of people to leave their countries in desperate conditions. What worries us is the way those migrants and refugees arrive to Europe: risking death at sea or in the deserts, and putting their lives in the hand of unscrupulous smugglers,” he said.

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

 

Main Countries of Origin

2014

2015

 

Eritrea

28,557

30,708

 

Nigeria

5,861

15.113

 

Somalia

3,646

8,790

 

Sudan

1,865

7,126

 

Syria

23,945

6,710

 

Gambia

5,158

5,514

 

Bangladesh

2,490

5,015

 

Total All Countries of Origin

112,689

116,149

 

 

Arrivals by sea to Italy
January to August 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

TOTAL

112,689

116,149

Arrivals BY SEA TO GREECE

In the Channel of Sicily the migrants are usually rescued in international waters and then brought to Lampedusa, Sicily, Calabria or Apulia. In Greece, migrants and refugees are sometimes rescued at sea, but often reach the shore on their own, in small rubber dinghies. The main landing points in Greece are the islands of Lesvos, Kos, Samos, Rhodes, Kalymnos, Megisti, Leros and Chios.

With the beginning of the winter season, life in refugee camps in Syria’s neighbouring countries will likely grow harsher. This may result in more people opting to come to Europe, resulting in further loss of life, according to IOM researchers.

“The international community must move fast to try to find solutions to the Syrian crisis. At the same time legal entry channels to the EU should be opened as soon as possible, in order to bring down the criminal gangs organizing the migrants’ journeys and give people in need a chance to find protection without risking their lives,” said the IOM Director General.

IOM teams in the Balkans continue to monitor a relentless march of new migrants, virtually all arriving from Greece, although some appear to be entering Serbia from Bulgaria.

From 19 June through Monday, 28 September, 102,753 people have registered their intention to seek asylum in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), according to authorities of the FYROM. Most spend less than a day in that jurisdiction before passing on to Serbia, where similar declarations are made.

The largest group entering the Balkans continues to be Syrians, who make up 75 per cent of the total flow. They are followed by Afghan and Iraqi nationals, who together comprise the fastest growing groups. The number of Afghan nationals registered in the FYROM rose to 11,000 this week, up from 2,258 on August 27. The number of Iraqi nationals also tripled over the same period.

While the male-female ratio remains steady (66 per cent male and 13 per cent female) the percentage of registered unaccompanied minors has risen from 1.6 per cent to 3.3 per cent of the overall caseload. The FYROM has registered a total of 3,444 unaccompanied children.

FYROM Registered Arrivals, June 19 – September 28, 2015*

Country of Origin

Persons

Other demographic data

Syria

77,680

68,085 male
13,888 female
17,336 children (accompanied by a family member)
3,444 unaccompanied children

Afghanistan

11,000

Iraq

6,519

Pakistan

2,731

Palestine

1,118

Somalia

635

Bangladesh

634

Democratic Republic of the Congo

371

Iran

614

Nigeria

222

Cameroon

178

Eritrea

163

Ethiopia

126

Sudan

114

Other countries

648

Total

102,753

* Source: The FYROM Ministry of Internal Affairs. Number of registered persons that have expressed the intention to submit an asylum application. Covers the period from 19 June 2015 (start date of the registration process) to 28 September 2015 (08.00 am.)

For latest data on arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean please visit http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information please contact Ivona Todorovska at IOM the FYROM, Tel. +389 70 364 094, Email: izakoska@iom.int