More than one million refugees arrived by sea to Europe in 2015: IOM
Migrants and refugees arrive at the Greek island of Lesbos in a small dinghy September 2015. (AFP/Angelos Tzortzinis)
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Over one million refugees have arrived in Europe by sea and land this year so far, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
According to IOM, almost 3,700 refugees died crossing the Mediterranean and 1,005,504 refugees have arrived in Europe by sea and land so far this year.
Some 971,289 people reached Europe by sea via the Mediterranean and 34,215 people reached Europe by land after crossing from Turkey into Bulgaria and Greece by land.
About 816,000 people arrived in Greece by sea and 4,000 people arrived in Greece by land.
Some 219,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean last year.
"Persecution, conflict and poverty have forced an unprecedented one million people to flee to Europe in 2015," the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR and IOM said in a joint statement.
"One-in-every-two of those crossing the Mediterranean this year – half a million people – were Syrians escaping the war in their country. Afghans accounted for 20 percent and Iraqis for seven percent," the IOM and UNHCR revealed.
The organizations said 800,000 refugees reached Europe via the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece, accounting for 80 percent of the refugees arriving irregularly in Europe by sea in 2015.
By Fatih Erel