During 2015, over 1 million migrants (1,008,616) landed in Europe – that is the highest number recorded in years. The beginning of 2016 saw numerous new landings too: a total of 65,439 people traveled through the Mediterranean route and reached Greece (60,502 migrants), where the flows of Syrians and Afghans fleeing war zones in the Middle East continue unabated; Italy itself has welcomed on its shores 4,937 migrants mainly coming from Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia through the Libyan route.
In 2015, 3,771 people died or went missing in the Mediterranean. In 2014, the dead or missing people were 3,500. In the first month of the current year, the number of people who lost their lives was 310.
Overall, if compared to 2014, the number of migrants arrived in Italy decreased by 9.7%; however, in December 2015, 9,395 arrivals on the Italian shores were recorded. This is over 2,600 migrants more than the number recorded in December 2014. If compared to the same month of 2014, during January of this year (2016) there was an increase in the arrivals on the Italian shores (+ 40%).
The Syrians who fled their country are now 4.6 million: more than 2.5 million are refugees in Turkey, 1,07 million in Lebanon, and 643,000 in Jordan: according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees this is the worst humanitarian crisis of the last 25 years. The Syrian asylum applicants seeking international protection in Europe from April 2011 to November 2015 were over 814,000, of which 532,000 in EU countries plus Switzerland and Norway. More than 54% of applications were filed in Germany and Sweden.
During the third quarter of 2015 (July to September 2015), 413,815 asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU Member States for the first time – this number doubled if compared to the second quarter of 2015. During the third quarter, the number of Syrians and Iraqis seeking international protection more than tripled compared to the previous quarter (almost 138,000 and 44,500 respectively); while the number of Afghans doubled, reaching more than 56,500 people.
In the third quarter of 2015, Syria was still the main country of origin of asylum-seekers in the EU, whose applications for international protection are a third of the total.
The largest number of requests was registered in Germany and Hungary (108,000 for both), which are followed by Sweden (42,500), Italy (28,400) and Austria (27,600).
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Mid Year Trend 2015 reported an increase in Forced Migrations worldwide in the first half of 2015.
The total number of refugees in the world – 19.5 million people in 2015 – exceeded the threshold of 20 million (20.2 million) in mid-2015, for the first time since 1992. Considered that the report only refers to people protected by UNHCR, 2015 could be the year in which people forced to migrate will exceed 60 million for the first time. Up to the present day, one person out of 122 has been forced to leave their homes (www.unhcr.it).
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