Migrant arrivals in Greece surge to 7,000 daily

Athens, Oct 9 (IANS) The number of migrants arriving on the Greek islands near Turkey has surged to about 7,000 a day in the past week, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported on Friday.

IOM indicated that this sharp increase may be attributed to the expected deterioration of weather conditions in the Mediterranean, making boat crossings from neighbouring Turkey particularly dangerous, Xinhua news agency reported.

Figures show that 70 percent of migrants and refugees who arrived in Greece last week immediately crossed into Macedonia from Greece’s Idomeni border.

“Syrians are now travelling faster from the islands to the border because they can afford it. They buy tickets for boats to Athens, buses straight to the border and sometimes even pay for taxis that can cost up to €700 (£518; $795) a family from Athens to the border,” the organisation said.

“Afghans, on the other hand, often have to work to get enough money to buy tickets.”

Meanwhile, the European Union’s migrant relocation scheme got under way on Friday when 20 Eritreans left Italy on a flight to Sweden. Some EU member states have objected to the scheme.

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