Over 150,000 migrants reach Europe

International Organisation for Migration reports that current migration level is about double last year's pace

Over 150,000 migrants reach Europe

World Bulletin / News Desk

Accoring to International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the number of migrants coming to Europe through Mediterranean reached 150,000, and 1,900 of them died. 

Only a month ago IOM announced that the number of migrants hit 100,000. The United Nations urged European states to come up with a "collective and far-reaching" solution to this problem. 

1,914 people already died trying to cross Mediterranean this year, this is twice as much as last year. Only in one night the Italian coastguard said it had rescued 823 migrants in eight different operations, and had pulled 12 bodies from the water. 

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said the organization had heard of at least four other occasions this week when bodies had been found. 

"On average, 1,000 arrive every day on the Greek islands," UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told reporters in Geneva, adding that most of them were fleeing from Syria.

Over 77,000 migrants came to Greek islands this year already, in 2014 however only a little more than 34,000 people came, that is why Greece warned it was facing a "growing humanitarian crisis".

"The numbers of people arriving are now so high that despite all efforts, the authorities and local communities can no longer cope," he warned, insisting an "urgent response from Europe is needed before the situation deteriorates further."

"Greece urgently needs help and we expect Europe to step forward," he said.

EU leaders agreed last month to redistribute 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum-seekers already in Europe to help take the load off countries like Greece and Italy, but on a voluntary basis after many member states objected strongly to proposed mandatory quotas.

Almost all the migrants and refugees arriving in Greece move on and try to reach western and northern Europe by passing through the western Balkans region.

"The capacity of these countries to effectively respond to the emergency situation is severely overstretched," Spindler said, insisting though that "the tightening of borders and building of walls (as Hungary is planning to do) are not the solution."

"We would expect the European Union to activate its emergency response, because Greece is part of the European Union, and this is happening in Europe. It is happening on the doorstep of Europe," Spindler said, also demanding more assistance to countries in the "immediate EU neighbourhood" like Macedonia and Serbia.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Temmuz 2015, 18:22