Weekend Greece Arrivals Exceed Peak Summer Day Totals

Greece - IOM Greece reports, after consultations with the Hellenic Police, an unprecedented number of migrants arriving in Greece this weekend, with totals exceeding arrivals during peak summer sailing days. 

On Friday (16/10) over 8,900 migrants crossed into Greece; on Saturday (17/10) arrivals exceeded 9,100; and on Sunday (18/10), arrivals approached 9,200.

A total of over 27,000 migrants entered Greece last weekend, the majority of whom arrived on the island of Lesvos (16,448).  The island of Chios, which previously saw arrivals of up to 300-500 migrants a day, over the weekend, witnessed the arrival of over 4,300 migrants.

IOM staff based on Greece’s border with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) reported that from Thursday morning (15/10) through Monday morning (19/10) 20,200 migrants crossed the border. Some 4,250 crossed on Thursday (15/10), 5,050 on Friday (16/10), 4,250 on Saturday (17/10) and 6,650 on Sunday (18/10).

Agencies are working to improve conditions at the emergency camp at the border in response to growing numbers of migrants arriving by bus and deteriorating weather conditions. IOM has dispatched three rub hall marquees, 10 chemical toilets and wooden benches.

Deteriorating weather conditions have already resulted in at least 25 deaths in the Aegean Sea this week, many of them children. Two incidents off the coast of Lesvos reported on October 14th and October 15th cost the lives of 10 migrants, including four children and two infants. 

On October 17th off the coast of Kalolymnos the Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 13 migrants and recovered the bodies of four more children – three girls and a boy. Three people are still missing – a man, a woman and a child.

On October 18th, the Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 80 migrants off the coast of Farmakonisi from a wooden boat which had capsized. During the rescue operation, a seven-year-old child died.

On October 19th, the Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 12 migrants off the coast of Megisti and recovered the body of an infant. Search operations later recovered three more bodies – two women and a 16-year-old boy. The bodies of a 65-year-old woman and a man were also washed ashore in Lesvos.

Meanwhile in the Channel of Sicily between Libya and Italy, some 1,300 people were rescued on Saturday (17/10) and Sunday. Rescue operations were conducted by the Italian naval ships Cigala Fulgosi, Fassa and Bersagliere, the Italian coastguard ships Fiorillo and Dattilo, and the Doctors Without Borders ship Dignity One.

A group of 622 migrants – almost all Nigerian nationals – was brought to Cagliari on board the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot, while another group of 633 will arrive in Taranto today on the Spanish ship Rio Segura. They will be met by IOM staff based in Puglia.

The Rio Segura is also transporting the bodies of eight migrants (seven women and one man.) They were found dead on a rubber dinghy 130 miles southeast of the island of Lampedusa. The dinghy – with 133 survivors – was located by the Italian navy ship Bersagliere on Sunday early afternoon.

Some 2,822 migrants have now lost their lives in the Channel of Sicily – the majority of the 3,138 migrants believed to have died in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe in 2015. 

Mediterranean Developments
Arrivals by Sea and Deaths in the Mediterranean: 1 January – 15 October, 2015

Country of Arrival




139,711 (IOM est.)


(Central Med route)






(Eastern Med route)




(Western Med and Western African routes)

Estimated Total



 Data on deaths of migrants compiled by IOM Research Dept. All numbers are minimum estimates. Arrivals estimates are based on data from respective governments and IOM field offices.* Data for Greece is derived from data collected by IOM staff in Greece and Greek authorities (1/1/2015 – 19/10/2015.)

For latest data on arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean please visit

For further information please contact Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy. Tel: +39 0644 186 207, Email: OrDaniel Esdras at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: