Over 520 000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean this year

2015-09-29 21:14
In Athens, Greece, a girl sits at her family's tent at Victoria square, where hundreds of migrants are staying before trying to continue their trip to more prosperous northern European countries. (Thanassis Stavrakis, AP)

In Athens, Greece, a girl sits at her family's tent at Victoria square, where hundreds of migrants are staying before trying to continue their trip to more prosperous northern European countries. (Thanassis Stavrakis, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome/Brussels - About 522 000 migrants have made the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean so far this year, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported on Tuesday in Geneva.

More than 388 000 of them went by boat from Turkey to Greece, while 131 000 ventured from Northern Africa to Italy.

Smaller numbers have arrived in Spain and Malta.

"Even if arrivals are still increasing, it is necessary to emphasise that this in not an emergency in terms of numbers," IOM director general William Lacy Swing said in New York, pointing to the 4 million Syrian refugees being hosted by Middle Eastern countries and Turkey.

Europe should create legal channels for migrants so that they do not have to turn to people smugglers and their boats, he said.

Nearly 2 900 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to IOM.

An estimated 1 151 migrants were pulled from boats off the coast of Libya on Monday in 11 rescue operations by Italian authorities, according to Ansa news agency.

The migrants were transported to the Italian ports of Lampedusa and Pozzallo.

On Monday, the European Council announced the second phase of the EU operation to tackle the surging numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, and renamed it Operation Sophia.

The operation was named Sophia after a baby girl born to a Somali migrant during a rescue by a German vessel.

From October 7, officers "will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling" in international waters, it said.

The first phase focussed on dealing with the influx of migrants, and only allowed voluntary boarding of vessels.

The second stage, which aims to reduce the capacities of people smugglers, was approved in mid-September, but was held up while contributing states mustered the resources.

Most of the migrants arriving in Greece are making their way to neighbouring Macedonia, across the Balkans, and on to Austria and Germany.

Three quarters of the 103 000 arrivals who have been registered in Macedonia since June were from Syria. A tenth was from Afghanistan, according to IOM.

Further west in France, authorities told broadcaster iTele that a 20-year-old migrant from Iraq was found dead in a truck near the port of Calais.

The city is one of the main crossing points for migrants and refugees trying to reach Britain. Twelve people are estimated to have died trying to cross the English Channel this summer.

Read more on:    italy  |  syria  |  libya  |  greece  |  north africa  |  migrants

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Men.24 Model of the Week: Wendy from Cape Town

Find out more about our featured model, Wendy from Cape Town


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
WATCH: Pornhub is giving users free access to premium content these holidays
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.