Over 3,800 boat migrants enter Europe in January

Rome, Jan 27 (IANS/AKI) A total of 3,829 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea this year till January 25, just over an eighth of those who arrived in the same period of 2016, the International Organisation for Migration said on Friday.

More than two thirds of arrivals in 2017 were in Italy and the rest in Greece, IOM said.

The number of boat migrants and refugees who reached Europe in the first 25 days of January last year was 48,029, IOM said.

Despite the massive drop in arrivals this year, 246 people are estimated to have died on the sea crossing compared with 210 over the same period of 2016, IOM estimates.

Of these fatalities, 221 deaths occurred on the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy, a dramatic increase from 20 deaths in the same period of 2016, while 25 people perished on the route to Spain, compared with five last year, IOM said.

Just one death was reported as of 25 January on the so-called Eastern route between Turkey and Greece against 185 deaths in the same period of 2016, IOM stated.

“This 2017 fatalities figure represents almost a reverse of the pattern of casualties from a year ago, ” IOM said.