Since the beginning of the year, almost 50 percent more migrants have arrived in Greece than in the same period of the previous year. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), a United Nations organization, registered 32,767 migrants by 18 September. By the same date last year, there were 22,261 people, the organization said.
In Italy, therefore, there are 6,570 people three times fewer migrants than last year. In Spain, there were significantly more than 17,000, but only half as many as in the same period in 2018. In total, almost 60,000 people arrived in European Mediterranean countries this year, about 20 percent fewer than in the same period last year. The number of fatalities has also fallen significantly: from more than 1,800 to 953 by 18 September this year.
The IOM enumerates refugees as well as people migrating from other parts. Migrants, by definition, are all people who leave their homes, whether they volunteer or involuntarily do so, for whatever reason they migrate or how long they spend abroad. Refugees, on the other hand, seek protection from war or imminent persecution. Thus, refugees are also migrants, but not all migrants are refugees. For example, migrant workers are also represented in the figures published by the IOM.
11,000 people in a camp
Especially the situation of the refugees in Greece is difficult due to the increased numbers. For example, the director of the largest Greek refugee center, Moria, recently returned to Lesvos Island. Human rights activists and UNHCR, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNHCR), highlighted the overcrowding of Greek camps this summer. In August, 8,100 people came to Greece from Turkey, compared with 3,200 in the same month last year. The camp Moria is hopelessly overcrowded with 11,000 people - actually it is geared to 3,000 people. The difficult hygienic conditions and the lack of care have already led to riots several times.
In total, 24,000 people were held in the Greek camps in August, 40 percent of whom are underage, according to UN sources. While the European Commission has called on the Greek government to bring more repatriations to Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently threatened to open borders because the EU did not provide all the agreed grants for the accommodation of Syrian refugees in Turkey.