In April, nearly 7,300 refugees and migrants entered Europe via Italy, Greece and Spain, bringing the number of refugees and migrants who have arrived by land and sea routes to these three countries to nearly 24,300 in the first four months of 2018. This marks a significant decrease of 49% compared to the first four months of 2017, a period in which just over 48,000 refugees and migrants entered Europe via these three countries.
The decrease so far this year is largely due to fewer people crossing from Libya to Italy. As of the end of April, the primary two nationalities arriving via the three Mediterranean routes to Europe were Syrians and Iraqis.
In Italy, just under 3,200 arrived by sea in April, an increase compared to February and March but still a significant reduction compared to April 2017 when nearly 13,000 people crossed the sea. Approximately 65% of sea arrivals to Italy in April, amounting to some 2,100 persons, departed from Libya. A further 1,400 refugees and migrants were disembarked in Libya last month after being rescued or intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard. Of those who have arrived by sea so far this year, the largest groups have been Tunisians (20%), mostly departing from Tunisia, and Eritreans (19%), departing from Libya. Arrivals so far also include over 1,400 unaccompanied or separated children, with the two biggest groups coming from Eritrea (25% of all unaccompanied and separated children) and Tunisia (20%). A further 17 persons were believed to have died in April while attempting to cross the sea to Italy contributing to a total of 363 deaths while attempting to cross from Libya so far this year. Of those making the journey from Libya, the rate of deaths in the first four months was approximately one death for every 19 persons who reached Italy.
In April, just over 3,000 refugees and migrants arrived by sea to Greece compared to just over 2,400 in March and fewer than 1,200 in April last year (a 162% increase). As of the end of April, most sea arrivals to Greece had been from the Syrian Arab Republic (41%), Iraq (24%) and Afghanistan (11%). Many of those arriving in recent months have been families with children comprising some 37% of all sea arrivals to Greece so far this year. As of the end of April, sea arrivals to Greece have increased by 62% compared to the same period in 2017 but remain far below arrival levels for 2015 and 2016. In addition, arrivals at the land border increased with over 3,600 recorded arrivals to Evros in April, including many families from Syria and Iraq, meaning that more refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by land than sea for the first time since 2013. The increased land arrivals, coupled with limited reception capacity in the Evros region prompted UNHCR to issue a statement calling on the Greek Government to improve conditions and expand reception capacity.
TunisianMonitorOnline (Relief Web)