Immigration: 150,000 arrivals in 2015

Italy has received 7,000 migrants more than 2014. Greece 76,000. Despite Frontex operation, number of deaths in the Mediterranean has risen to 1,900. The Iom report helps us to understand this crisis.

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More than 700 immigrants landed on the Sicily shores weekend are just the latest wake-up call to a crisis for Italy and Greece. The figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of the Interior, certify a tragic exodus which will grow in the coming months.

The arrival in Europe of 150,000 migrants is a substantial number, but cannot be described as “an invasion,” considering that Europe is home to over 500 million people, according to Soda. “Lebanon, a country of 4 million people, is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees and Turkey is hosting about 2 million”, Oim report said.

According to the survey, migrants arrived in Europe by sea in 2015 are more than 150,000: 74,000 and in Italy (around 7000 more than a year) and almost 76000 in Greece (six times more than 2014). “Over 1,900 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean so far this year, over twice the number during the same period in 2014. But the number of fatalities has started to decrease since May. This is probably due to the large presence of European Union (EU) / Frontex ships in international waters. The enhancement of the EU’s Operation Triton has enabled maritime forces to save more migrants lives in the Channel of Sicily. For Italy, the main countries of origin during the first half of 2015 were: Eritrea (18,676), Nigeria (7,897), Somalia (6,334), Syria (4,271), Gambia (3,593), and Sudan (3,589). These nationalities were also among the top 10 at this time last year. ”, Oim underlined.

Beyond Italy, the dinamic routes explaine the exponential growth of the immigration, especially Syrians and Iraqis, in Greece Islands: “One major difference has been a significant drop in the number of Syrian nationals arriving in Italy. (There were about 12,000 during the same period in 2014.) Syrians are now primarily using the Eastern Mediterranean route through Turkey and Greece. An estimated 22,582 Syrian nationals reached Greece between January and May 2015”.

Resuming on the Italian istance, Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome, confirmed that immigration is an European issue: “Italy is affected by mixed migration flows, which require different operational responses. The country is experiencing the arrival of not only a significant number of asylum-seekers, but also a large proportion of job-seeking migrants. Irrespective of nationality, both types must be individually screened to determine their status. The boats transporting men, women, and children attempting to reach Europe also often carry vulnerable people, such as victims of trafficking and violence, unaccompanied children, and pregnant women”, he ended.
Giacomo Pratali

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