A cataclysmic wave of Africans, Middle Eastern and Eastern European immigrants continues flooding Western Europe as people flee war, famine, drought and extreme poverty.
The wave of immigration to Europe intensifies and increasingly overflows the continent’s capacity to deal with it. More than 23,000 immigrants have arrived to the Greek coast in the past week alone.
Such influx is an increase of 50% compared to the previous week, according to an estimate by the European Border Surveillance Agency. In Hungary, hundreds of people continue to protest at the railway station of Budapest, demanding access to trains to Germany.
In Serbia, Government reports that there are 8,000 people in its territory who want to continue to the EU. Train traffic between Paris and London suffered serious problems for hours.
Two ferries from the Greek island of Lesbos have taken more than 4,200 people to the port of Piraeus in Athens. Refugees, the vast majority Syrians, have targeted bus stations at the Greek capital to reach the border with Macedonia.
More than a hundred of them preferred to stay in the city, as the refugee reception center was opened ten days ago with an accommodation capacity of 720 people. Others who had more money, have sought accommodation in low-cost hotels in central Athens.
So far this year more than 180,000 refugees have arrived in Greece, according to the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR). Estimations are that every day 1,000 refugees come from the Turkish coast to the Greek Aegean islands.
On Wednesday, at least twelve minors from Syrian origin were killed in two separate incidents while trying to cross the narrow neck of water separating the peninsula of Bodrum in Turkey and the Greek island of Kos.
The bodies of two children appeared early in the morning on a Turkish beach prompting the Coast Guard to mobilize several rescue teams, who managed to rescue six people from the two stricken vessels. Only during the last night, the Turkish coast guard arrested 100 people trying to cross to the Greek islands, mostly in inflatable boats, a figure that exceeds 2,000 in the last seven days.
Greece’s interim government, headed by Vasiliki Thanou, addressed the refugee crisis and, as announced by the Deputy Minister of Migration Policy, Yannis Mouzalas, various initiatives were agreed to improve the living conditions of refugees and “ease” the tension of the inhabitants of the islands that receive the bulk of this new migration flow, but did not specify what type of action is it.
Mouzalas said that a transitional executive that runs the country until the elections next September 20th cannot solve the immigration crisis that is facing Greece therefore called for the immediate intervention of the European Union and the “internationalization ” of the problem to be addressed by the UN.
According to Greek Thursday will see the arrival of the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans and the Commissioner of Migration Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, who will visit the island of Kos.
Meanwhile, in Serbia there are currently 7,800 refugees and 3,000 more come every day, as reported by Anne-Birgitte Krum-Hansen, head of the legal department of UNHCR Serbia. The expert estimated that “the flow will probably continue and that it may even increase.”
If in May the daily influx in Serbia was about 200 people a day, in June it increased to 1,000 and 2,000 refugees a month ago, stated Krum-Hansen.
About a hundred riot police have blocked for the second consecutive day, the entrance to the Budapest Keleti station. The refugees are concentrated against the police blockade while chanting the name of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, or their country of origin, “Syria, Syria.”
Around the terminal the situation has become a makeshift refugee camp, with little support from the authorities, and where whole families sleep on the floor, mere cardboard and blankets, while the more fortunate have tents.
On Monday night, the Austrian police intercepted a third van with 24 refugees, mostly young Afghan aged 16 and 17 who were at risk of choking, as reported by the authorities.
Faced with the massive influx of refugees, the Government of Austria has announced it will increase to 380 million euros its budget for housing, feeding and health services to ensure asylum seekers will have better conditions.
Basic supplies to the refugees are offered during the duration of their asylum procedure and if granted this status, for another four months.
Almost half a million immigrants arrived in Europe This Year
Tensions in southern Europe have been triggered by the arrivals from across the Mediterranean. So far this year, 351,314 people have arrived mainly to Greek and Italian community coasts, according to figures released Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration.
This amount represents an increase of 60% on all arrivals recorded in 2014, which totaled 219,000. The flow between January and August this year also marks the biggest annotated by this organization, which collects data since 2008, and includes the phase of instability that followed the Arab Spring, which began in 2011, caused such figures.
The bulk of refugees, some 234,778 arrived to Europe through Greece. Italy, the most active in alerting the European dimension of the phenomenon received 114,276 irregular arrivals in eight months.
Far behind is Spain with 2,166, and Malta with 94. A parallel problem that has arisen from the mass immigration is that of smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean. There are estimates based on data provided by the different countries and offices of this organization, which works with governments and NGOs.
The Syrians are the largest group of people that landed in southern Europe, particularly in Greece with 88,204. They are followed by far the Afghans, with 32,414. Eritreans and Nigerians are the most common nationalities among the arrivals in Italy.
Besides these arrivals, the International Organization for Migration’s report includes statistics on deaths in the Mediterranean, which are very difficult to quantify.
According to these estimates, so far this year, 2,643 migrants have died while trying to reach Europe. The figure is very similar to the same period in 2014, despite the huge increase in entries.
Strengthening surveillance in the Mediterranean, an action agreed to last April following the sinking of a boat on Italian shores, largely explains the containment of deaths. As a result of this tragedy, April concentrated half of the total deaths this year.