The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) stated on Friday that some 150,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea since the beginning of 2015, with most arrivals being reported in Greece (75,970) and Italy (74,947).

African migrants
African migrants
According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, over 7,200 migrants arrived in Greece by sea in the first week of July alone, while some 900 people have been crossing the Aegean Sea separating Turkey and Greece every day over the past month.

This makes Greece, which saw an estimated 22,582 Syrians reach its shores between January and May this year, the largest European point of arrival for migrant sea arrivals, amid one of the worst economic crises the country has faced in decades.

Though most of the migrants arriving in Greece originate from Syria, a country which is experiencing it’s fifth year of war, Greece is also registering migrant arrivals from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia.
In Italy, the main countries of migrant origin in the first half of 2015 were Eritrea (18,676), Nigeria (7,897), Somalia (6,334), Syria (4,271), Gambia (3,593) and Sudan (3,589).

One notable change is the drop in the number of Syrians arriving in Italy, as Syrian migrants mainly use Eastern-Mediterranean routes through Turkey and Greece to reach mainland Europe.

This comes after the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently reported that over four million Syrians have been forced to flee their war-torn country, with close to half of them taking refuge in Turkey.

According to IOM, more than 1,900 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean to date this year, over twice the number of deaths recorded for the same period in 2014, though the number of fatalities has been decreasing since May.

IOM indicated that this can be attributed to the significant presence of EU-Frontex ships in international waters, which, combined with the enhancement of Operation Triton, has enabled a greater number of migrants to be saved. Enditem

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