Belfast Telegraph

432,000 migrants cross the Mediterranean this year

By David Young

More than 432,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean heading for EU countries so far this year, according to figures released yesterday by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

That's more than double the number who made the dangerous trip in 2014, the organisation said.

The IOM said the higher numbers on the move this year was due to a greater influx of Syrians from the Turkish coast into nearby Greek islands.

More than 175,375 migrants from Syria have reached Greece so far in 2015. The number of Afghans, the country that accounts for the second highest number of migrant refugees crossing the Mediterranean also rose to 50,177 this year, up from 32,414 in 2014.

The news comes as Germany announced it has put 4,000 troops on standby to help with incoming refugees. Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the soldiers would help in emergency cases and that more could be called upon in future.

Germany has said it expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year,

Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic yesterday refused to accept EU plans to relocate to them 120,000 asylum seekers, with numbers decided by Brussels.

EU President Donald Tusk said he would call a summit of EU national leaders if, at emergency talks on Monday, EU interior ministers do not display "solidarity and unity" on the ongoing migrant crisis.

Belfast Telegraph


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