UNHCR Europe Monthly Report (July 2017)
Trends and key figures
Since 01 January 2017 until 31 July 2017, 119,300 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea and land to Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain and Cyprus only, including arrivals to the Canary Islands and by land to Spain). Arrivals by sea in this period comprised of 18% children, 14% women and 68% men. In July, there was a decrease in the number of refugees and migrants entering Europe via the Central Mediterranean route to Italy (by 43%) compared to the same month last year and an increase through the Western Mediterranean route to Spain by more than triple compared to July 2016 (from 775 to 2,657). Arrivals to Spain remained, however, much smaller than those arriving via the Central Mediterranean route. Meanwhile arrivals through the Eastern Mediterranean route to Greece increased during July 2017 in comparison to last year.
Between 1 January and 31 July, 95,200 refugees and migrants had arrived in Italy by sea, including 12,700 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) (13% of sea arrivals), this level of arrivals is similar to that of 2016, with a lower level of arrivals in July 11,500 in 2017 vs. 23,600 in 2016. In Spain, 12,200 persons have arrived by sea and land between January and July 2017 compared to 5,700 in the same period last year, a 113% increase. The number of arrivals to Andalucía, in southern Spain, (7,909), is 212% higher than the same period last year (2,537). Between June and July, 5,345 arrivals were registered in Spain. An increasing number of Syrian families continue to arrive in Melilla.
As of 31 July 2017, 11,500 refugees and migrants reached Greek shores in 2017, compared to 152,600 arriving in the same period last year (a 92% reduction). Persons mainly originate from the Syrian Arab Republic (37%) and Iraq (13%). While the number of sea crossings between January and April this year was vastly lower (97%) than during the same period in 2016, the number of arrivals between May and July this year was 37% higher than in the same three-month period last year. Since May, the number of Syrian and Iraqi arrivals has been higher than for the same period last year, although still significantly lower than 2015 and early 2016, while the number of Afghans has dropped.
Arrivals in July have been to Lesvos (52%), followed by Samos (22%), Chios (8%), and the South Dodecanese islands (8%). Irregular onward movement from Greece to other European countries remains a concern as people risk falling victim to traffickers and smugglers.
According to Turkish authorities, the Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) rescued/intercepted 1,743 people during July. The total number of rescues/interceptions by the Turkish Coast Guard of persons mostly headed to Greece by sea reached 9,394 as of 31 July 2017 since the beginning of the year.
There has been a slight decrease in interceptions by Turkish Land Forces at the western land borders of Turkey. The figures dropped down to 2,090 persons in July 2017 from 2,725 in June 2017, which represents a 23% decrease. Together with July figures, interceptions at the Greek and Bulgarian land borders increased to 13,189 persons since the beginning of the year. This figure is a major increase (83%) when compared to the first seven months of 2016.4 Between January and July 2017, 530 refugees and migrants arrived in Cyprus compared to 58 in the same period last year. A rising trend in Syrian nationals arriving to Cyprus has been observed; in July they make up the main nationality represented. The majority reportedly departed from Turkey and many are families. Arrivals consists of 48% men, 15% women and 36% children (of which 6.2% are UASC).
Dead and missing: as of 31 July 2017, an estimated 2,409 people have died or gone missing while trying to reach Europe by sea, compared to 3,127 for the same period in 2016.