Europe Migrants: One Million More in Counting and Many Are Still Coming

December 23, 2015
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More than a million refugees have entered Europe by sea and by land in 2015 alone bringing the number to 1,005,504 as revealed by the International Organization for Migration on Tuesday.

The IOM reported that as of Monday, majority of the refugees who came by sea numbered a total of 971, 289. While the remaining 34, 215 have reached Europe by land travel. While many have entered Europe alive, there are those numbering 3,695 migrants who have drowned and remained missing at sea.

William Lacy Swing, IOM’s director general said that the Mediterranean Sea is “the deadliest route for migrants on our planet.” He added that the 3,279 people, who lost their lives in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean in 2014, accounted for the 65% of all migrant deaths.

Contrasting this with the U.S.-Mexico border, the second-deadliest border, only accounted for 6,029 deaths between 1998 and 2013.

Via land travels, deaths have also occurred to migrants entering Europe. In August, 71 migrant bodies believed to be from Syria were found by Austrian authorities, who had suffocated in a truck abandoned along a highway.

In 2014, the number of migrants entering Europe by crossing the Mediterranean was 219,000 according to the United Nations.

But this number is nothing compared to the unparalleled rise of migrants entering the continent in 2015 fleeing from their homelands in the Middle East and Africa due to wars, persecution and poverty, the U.N. reported.

Syrians, the major contributor has more than 4 million people fleeing from four years of civil war, described as the worst refugee crisis in 25 years,

According to the IOM, in terms of their entry, majority of migrants with a total of 821,008, or 81.6% entered Europe in Greece. The second highest number of arrivals with a total of150, 317 arrived in Italy. The rest of the migrants entered in Bulgaria, Spain, Cyprus and Malta.

The top five nationalities arriving in Greece were from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Albania.

Meanwhile, IOM reports from the Italian Interior Ministry revealed that the top five nationalities arriving in Italy were Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

Germany continues to be the most popular destination for migrants arriving in Europe. The country has received the highest number of new asylum applications, numbering more than 315,000 by October 2015.

This was followed by Hungary, which has more migrant applications of 174,055. The migrants have entered overland through Greece and the Western Balkans.

Along with Germany, Sweden is one of the main destinations of choice, with approximately 150,000 applying for asylum in 2015.

In contrast, Denmark expects to receive about 20,000 asylum seekers this year.

In the midst of the massive influx of migrants, tensions in the EU are on the rise due to the escalating and yet not proportioned burden confronting the EU countries such as Greece, Italy and Hungary.

Last September, a total of 120,000 refugees were planned to be relocated by the EU but only 66,000 will be relocated in Greece and Italy. The remaining 54,000 will be brought to Hungary until the final decision on where the refugees will go.

Sweden has received approximately 150,000 applications for asylum this year.

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