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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals: a Decrease of Flows Toward Greece

By   /  June 23, 2016  /  Comments Off

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During 2015, over 1 million migrants (1,008,616) landed in Europe – that is the highest number ever recorded over the years. 2016 has seen numerous new landings too: between January and June 12, a total of 212,000 people traveled through the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

Compared to 2015, the current year is characterized by a significant change: the slowdown of flows to Greece, which started in January, led to a drastic reduction in arrivals in May – also because of the March 20 agreement between the EU and Turkey, according to which irregular migrants traveling to the Greek islands must return to Turkey. In May, a little less than 1,500 migrants arrived in Greece; in the previous month they were 3,500, while in March the number of people landing was 27,000 (67,000 and 57,000 in February and in January respectively). In the first 15 days of June, Greece welcomed on its shores 751 people. On the contrary, in Italy, almost 20 thousand migrants landed in May, with a daily average of 689 arrivals. The Central Mediterranean route went back to being the main route of access to Europe. In the first 12 days of June, 4,827 arrivals were recorded in Italy.

Since the beginning of the year, a total of 52,637 migrants landed on the Italian shores, mainly from African countries (Nigeria, Gambia, Senegal, Mali). The monthly data also indicate a new increase in arrivals from Eritrea in April this year, arrivals that had declined drastically since November 2015. As for the reception and accommodation of migrants, the Italian Ministry of Interior has expressed the need to create another 15,000 spaces for refugees since those already provided by the Government and the Regions have turned out to be not enough. At the end of May, 120,000 were the migrants in the Italian reception facilities – which is 15,000 more than those recorded five months ago.

In 2015, 3,771 people died or went missing in the Mediterranean. In 2014, the dead or missing people were 3,500. Between January 1 and June 16 of the current year, the number of people who lost their lives was 2,686. In March of this year, with the intensification of the arrivals through the Libyan route and the slowdown of flows from Turkey to Greece, the number of migrants who died in the central Mediterranean went up significantly: 258 died in March, while 621 in April. The dramatic succession of shipwrecks between Libya and Italy in the last days of May saw more than 1,100 victims. In the first fifteen days of June, 340 people lost their lives in the central Mediterranean.

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