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UNHCR Europe Monthly Report (February 2018)

Situation Report
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In February, just under 3,900 refugees and migrants entered Europe via Italy, Greece and Spain, less than half the number that entered in January. With lower numbers of people crossing from North Africa to Italy by sea compared to last year, the route to Spain experienced the most movement of the three Mediterranean routes with over 1,500 arrivals, followed by the route to Greece with over 1,200 and less than 1,100 to Italy.

In Italy, the number of refugees and migrants arriving by sea in February (almost 1,100) dropped 88% compared to last February (8,900). This was the lowest number of arrivals by sea via the Central Mediterranean route since late 2013. Of those crossing the sea in February, approximately 56% departed from Libya. While departure numbers from the Libyan coast are lower in general, the Libyan Coast Guard has reported rescuing or intercepting over 700 persons in February. As of the end of February, arrival numbers by sea to Italy are 61% lower than in the first two months of 2017. The primary nationalities that have arrived by sea in February are Tunisians (42%), Eritreans (12%) and Nigerians (11%).

In February, over 1,200 refugees and migrants arrived by sea in Greece compared to almost 1,100 whom arrived in the same period in 2017 (a 9% increase). Persons arriving in Greece in February mainly originated from the Syrian Arab Republic (39%), Iraq (29%) and Afghanistan (15%). As of the end of February, sea arrivals to Greece have increased 16% compared to the first two months of 2017. In addition, the number of persons rescued or intercepted after departing from the Turkish coastline has more than doubled this year compared to the same period last year. At the land border, higher numbers continued to cross with 528 arrivals recorded in February compared to 222 in February last year. So far, 1,093 persons have entered Greece via the land border with Turkey since the start of the year.