Refugee arrivals to Greece on rise again - IOM

At least 1,232 migrants have lost their lives trying to cross Mediterranean this year so far, IOM reports

Refugee arrivals to Greece on rise again - IOM Refugee children play in front of tents in Piraeus port in Athens, Greece on April 21, 2016. Refugees' "journey of hope" towards Western European countries where they dream of having a better life ends in the Balkans following the latest decision. ( Rober Astorgano - Anadolu Agency )


By Fatih Erel


The refugee arrivals to Greek islands were on the rise again with 150 people arriving each day despite the EU-Turkey deal, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

Speaking in a news conference in Geneva, IOM spokesperson Joel Millman said the arrivals to Greece, which had been down to zero on certain days this month, were beginning to go up again.

"In the last three days, we had over 150 people arriving each day," he said.

The deal between the EU and Turkey is aimed at breaking the people smuggling gangs in the Aegean Sea.

About the rise despite the EU-Turkey deal, Millman said the reason could be related to better weather conditions or smugglers becoming more creative to take refugees to Greek islands from Turkey.

Turkey and the EU reached an agreement, which came into effect on March 20, to stop refugee flows to Europe. Under the deal, people trying to enter Europe illegally will not get a chance for resettlement in the EU. All new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands as of March 20 will be returned to Turkey.

Over 180,000 migrants or refugees have crossed into Greece and Italy since the beginning of 2016, according to IOM.

At least 1,232 migrants and refugees have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean this year so far, including nearly 500 believed to have died off Libya earlier this month, the IOM reported.

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