Over half a million migrants arrived in Greek islands in Jan-Oct
More than 540,000 migrants arrived in Greek islands during the first 10 months of 2015, the European border agency Frontex reported on Tuesday. It said this number was 13 times the equivalent in 2014 and Syrians comprised the majority of those arriving, though the number of Afghans had also risen significantly in recent weeks.
Undeterred by worsening weather conditions, more than 150,000 people attempted the crossing from Turkey to Greece in October, compared to just 8,500 in October 2014.
During the same period, authorities detected roughly half a million unauthorised transits of European borders in the western Balkans – chiefly on the borders of Hungary and Croatia with Serbia.
Most of these migrants had earlier reached one of the Greek islands and travelled to central Europe via the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Serbia. After Hungary erected a wall on its borders with Serbia, record numbers of migrants started going through Serbia’s border with Croatia.
Conversely, numbers crossing via the central Mediterranean from Libya to Italy were reduced by half in October to 8,500 compared with the previous year.
Frontext said it currently has 114 officers stationed in Lesvos and other Greek islands to assist Greek authorities and western Balkan countries, helping local authorities with the tasks of registration and identification. It has also offered to reinforce its presence along the Greek border with FYROM and Albania, as well as the border between Croatia and Serbia.
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