Source: elpais.com.uy / December 23, 2015. According to the International Organization for Migration, it was in the course of this year.
More than a million refugees and immigrants have come to Europe this year, of which at least 972,000 made it through the Mediterranean and 34,000 by land, from Turkey through Bulgaria and Greece.
“Persecution, conflict and poverty have forced a million people to flee to Europe in 2015, something without precedent”, said yesterday the International Organization for Migration (IOM). That figure represents the largest number of people displaced by wars seen in Central and Western Europe since the nineties, when several nationalist conflicts erupted in former Yugoslavia.
Current data, until the last month of the year, confirmed that one of every two people who have managed to cross the Mediterranean comes from Syria, where civil war that began in March 2011 has caused more than a quarter of a million deaths and has forced the displacement of almost half of the entire country’s population.
Afghans constitute 20% of those who have arrived in Europe, and Iraqis 7%.
In recent months, Afghanistan has been the scenario of significant progress of the Taliban in the military terrain, despite the intervention of a military coalition led by the United States. Iraq has been experiencing a conflict for over a decade, but the situation has worsened since terrorist group Islamic State gained control over a vast territory of this country, bordering Syria.
When commenting on the data reported, Director of IOM, Lacy Swing, said that beyond the number of one million arrivals, we must remember that about 4,000 people have died this year in these difficult journeys.
Far from rejecting them, he asked for efforts to be directed to making migration “legal and safe both for those who arrive and for countries that will become their new home”. Arrivals though Mediterranean Sea, from North Africa to Italy, have fallen sharply throughout 2015, after being for many years the most widely used route for irregular migration. Through that path, 150,000 people have arrived since January, in comparison to 170,000 people in 2014, said IOM.
The vast majority of refugees -around 800,000- arrive to the Greek islands from Turkey, where there are about 1,8 million Syrian refugees, many of whom choose this route when left without hope of the war coming to an end and being able to return to their country.