(AFP) – More than one million migrants and refugees have entered Greece since January last year, the United Nations refugee agency said Wednesday.
“More than one million people, mostly refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have now crossed into Greece since the start of 2015,” UNHCR said in a statement.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 143,000 people have travelled from Turkey to Greece, pushing the total number of land and sea arrivals in that country past the one million mark in the past 15 months, it said.
This “milestone (is) an urgent reminder of the need for a more coordinated approach to managing the influx and protecting people who are fleeing war and persecution,” the agency said.
Syria’s brutal war, which entered its sixth year this week, has especially fuelled the constant flood of people attempting to reach Europe, sparking the continent’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.
More than 270,000 people have died in the conflict, while nearly five million have fled as refugees and another nearly seven million remain displaced inside Syria.
Highlighting the human tragedy unfolding, UNHCR said women and children currently make up nearly 60 percent of the people taking the dangerous sea route to Greece, compared to less than 30 percent last June.
So far this year, 448 people have died or been declared missing trying to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, after 3,771 people perished on such crossings in 2015, UNHCR said.