Over 172,000 migrants reach EU in 2016

Geneva, April 5 (IANS) The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday said 172,089 refugees and migrants have reached Europe by sea since the beginning of 2016 while 714 individuals have died attempting to do so.

Figures show that 152,137 of these entries have been recorded in Greece, Xinhua news agency reported.

Almost 50 percent of those reaching the country this year are from Syria, while around 25 percent are Afghans.

The remaining arrivals have been recorded in Italy (19,287), Spain (638), and Cyprus (27).

While 366 refugees have lost their lives attempting to cross the eastern Mediterranean route separating Turkey and Greece, IOM indicated in a statement that there have been “no deaths on the Eastern Mediterranean since the start of implementation last week of a new migrant agreement between Turkey and the European Union that allows for repatriation of those arriving on the Greek islands.”

In compliance with the new agreement, 202 people were repatriated to Turkey on March 4, two of which were Syrians who volunteered to be sent back.

Further death toll figures show that the central Mediterranean route linking North Africa with Italy has claimed the lives of 343 migrants this year while five people perished on the western Mediterranean and Western African routes.

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