Migrant Arrivals to Europe This Year Top 110,000, Up Sharply from 2015

Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, February 23, 2016

The number of migrants and refugees arriving in Italy and Greece since the start of the year has risen sharply compared to the same period 2015 and hundreds are stranded at European borders due to rising restrictions, aid agencies said on Tuesday.

At least 102,500 people have landed on Greek islands including Samos, Kos and Lesbos this year, and 7,500 in Italy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement.

“We’ve reached that figure in two months as opposed to last year when it was reached by the summer,” IOM spokesman Itayi Viriri told a news briefing.

In 2015, the 100,000 mark was not reached until the end of June, according to IOM figures. The vast majority of the latest arrivals are from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, IOM said.

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More than 410 have died so far this year at sea, mostly on the route from Turkey to Greece, the IOM said.

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