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Italy: Majority of Mediterranean Sea migrants fleeing "war, conflict or persecution" - UN report01:29

Italy: Majority of Mediterranean Sea migrants fleeing "war, conflict or persecution" - UN report

Italy, Sicily
July 1, 2015 at 04:56 GMT -00:00 · Published

The large majority of the 137,000 people who crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe during the first six months of 2015 were fleeing from war, conflict or persecution, making the Mediterranean crisis primarily a refugee crisis, a UNHCR report released on Wednesday concludes.

One third of the men, women and children who arrived by sea in Italy or Greece were from Syria, whose nationals are almost universally deemed to qualify for refugee status or other forms of protection, UNHCR writes in a statement. The second and third most common countries of origin are Afghanistan and Eritrea, whose nationals are also mostly considered to qualify for refugee status. Footage shot in April and June this year shows coastguard vessels picking up migrants near Lesbos island, Greece, and migrants arriving in Sicily, Italy.

Data received from Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain charts a 83 percent increase in refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean from January to June – 137,000 compared to 75,000 in the same period last year, the UN writes.

The number of deaths at sea rose to record levels in April 2015, and then dropped dramatically in May and June, the UN writes. Between January and March, 479 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing, as opposed to 15 during the first three months of the year before. In April the situation took an even more terrible turn. In a number of concurrent wrecks, an unprecedented 1,308 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing in a single month (compared to 42 in April 2014).

In May, the number of refugees and migrants drowned or missing at sea fell to 68, a quarter of the figure only one year earlier (226). The downward trend continued in June, which saw 12 deaths compared to 305 in 2014.

Courtesy of UNHCR

Italy: Majority of Mediterranean Sea migrants fleeing "war, conflict or persecution" - UN report01:29
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The large majority of the 137,000 people who crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe during the first six months of 2015 were fleeing from war, conflict or persecution, making the Mediterranean crisis primarily a refugee crisis, a UNHCR report released on Wednesday concludes.

One third of the men, women and children who arrived by sea in Italy or Greece were from Syria, whose nationals are almost universally deemed to qualify for refugee status or other forms of protection, UNHCR writes in a statement. The second and third most common countries of origin are Afghanistan and Eritrea, whose nationals are also mostly considered to qualify for refugee status. Footage shot in April and June this year shows coastguard vessels picking up migrants near Lesbos island, Greece, and migrants arriving in Sicily, Italy.

Data received from Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain charts a 83 percent increase in refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean from January to June – 137,000 compared to 75,000 in the same period last year, the UN writes.

The number of deaths at sea rose to record levels in April 2015, and then dropped dramatically in May and June, the UN writes. Between January and March, 479 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing, as opposed to 15 during the first three months of the year before. In April the situation took an even more terrible turn. In a number of concurrent wrecks, an unprecedented 1,308 refugees and migrants drowned or went missing in a single month (compared to 42 in April 2014).

In May, the number of refugees and migrants drowned or missing at sea fell to 68, a quarter of the figure only one year earlier (226). The downward trend continued in June, which saw 12 deaths compared to 305 in 2014.

Courtesy of UNHCR

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