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One million migrants have arrived in Europe by sea this year

Published 30/12/2015

A volunteer lifeguard shows the way to a boat overcrowded with refugees as they approach the Greek island of Lesbos (AP)
A volunteer lifeguard shows the way to a boat overcrowded with refugees as they approach the Greek island of Lesbos (AP)

The number of migrants who have arrived in Europe by sea this year now tops one million, the UN refugee agency has said .

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees announcement came only a week after the International Organisation for Migration said the total number of people arriving in Europe this year had topped a million - including 34,215 who arrived across land borders.

UNHCR said 1,000,573 people have arrived by boat during the year - 844,176 of them landing in Greece and 152,700 in Italy. Spain reported 3,592 arrivals and Malta 105.

The count is based on police and coastguard data and estimates stemming from refugee registration in Greece, data and estimates from government, police and UNHCR in Italy, and police and government data from Spain and Malta.

Of those who arrived, 49% came from Syria and 21% from Afghanistan.

Another 3,735 people were counted as dead or missing, UNHCR said.

Germany has received more migrants than any other European Union nation - including, in the early part of 2015, large numbers from south-eastern European nations such as Albania, Kosovo and Serbia.

Bavaria's social affairs minister Emilia Mueller said nearly 1.1 million migrants have arrived in Germany this year, most of them via Bavaria.

She underscored the Bavarian state government's insistence that "we now need more urgently than ever an effective limitation of immigration".

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