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IOM Responds as Greece Rivals Italy as Point of Entry to EU for Sea-borne Migrants

IOM Responds as Greece Rivals Italy as Point of Entry to EU for Sea-borne Migrants

26 June 2015 -- The Greek islands near Turkey's coast now rival Italy as the top destination for irregular migrants seeking entry into the EU by sea this year, signaling the shift from the central Mediterranean route to the Eastern route. Some 61,000 migrants have arrived by sea to Greece this year, nearly doubling 2014’s full-year total of 34,442. During the current month of June, between 650 and 1,000 migrants are reaching the islands daily. The key points of entry are the Greek islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos and Chios, with Lesvos alone receiving over half of all arrivals. The smaller islands of Pserimos, Farmakonisi, Agathonisi, Oinousses, Megisti and Gavdos also are receiving migrants, overstretching modest local means to respond.

IOM's Chief of Mission in Greece, Daniel Esdras, warns that the islands are facing shortages in capacity and resources needed to adequately handle the arrivals.  “This is only the beginning. The facts and figures cannot describe the reality of the situation on Greek shores," he said.  Read More>>