The United Nations warned on Friday it could see no easing of the flow of people into Europe, with 8,000 arrivals daily, and that problems now facing governments may turn out to be only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Hungary, which lies in the path of the largest migration wave Europe has seen since World War Two, said it was seeking support to halt an influx from Croatia after sealing its border with Serbia by building a 3.5-metre-high steel fence.
Amin Awad, regional refugee coordinator for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, told journalists in Geneva the body’s past warnings on the scale of the problem had not been taken seriously.
“I don’t see it abating, I don’t see it stopping. If anything, it gives an indication perhaps that this is the tip of the iceberg.”
Dominik Bartsch, the U.N.’s deputy humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said 10 million people were expected to need humanitarian support by the end of the year in that country, where 3.2 million were already displaced.
He said the United Nations was planning for the displacement of 500,000 people from the Iraqi city of Mosul if Iraqi forces launch an attempt to recapture it from Islamic State.
EU leaders have pledged at least 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for Syrian refugees in the Middle East and closer cooperation to stem migrant flows into Europe at a summit described as less tense than feared after weeks of feuding.
The greater number of asylum seekers reaching Europe, many on flimsy dinghies crossing the Mediterranean or on hazardous journeys hidden in trucks, are from Syria or Iraq. Others are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and African countries including Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.
The German interior ministry said around a third of asylum seekers arriving in Germany who claim to be from Syria were probably not actually from that country, though spokesman Tobias Plate added that there were no precise statistics.
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