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UNHCR Europe Monthly Report (August 2018)

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TRENDS AND KEY FIGURES

Between 1 January and 31 August, 84,300 refugees and migrants arrived via the three Mediterranean routes to Europe compared to almost 131,610 arrivals who arrived in the same period in 2017. This marks a 36% reduction from the previous year’s arrival figures showing a continued declining trend of the overall arrivals numbers to Europe. In August 2018, there were 12,800 arrivals, slightly more than the same month in 2017 (10,600), but significantly less than August 2016 (26,300). As of 31 August, most confirmed arrivals so far this year have been to Spain with some 33,900 arriving by land and sea compared to 30,300 in Greece and 20,000 in Italy. Primary nationalities amongst arrivals in 2018 so far are Syrians, Iraqis and Guineans.

CYPRUS: In the first eight months of 2018, 166 people arrived to Cyprus by sea. Arrivals increased during August, with reportedly 7 boats reaching Cyprus, including one directly from Syria, within a period of three weeks. Recent arrival include Syrians apprehended near the buffer zone who initially arrived by boat in the north or at Ercan airport. Thus far, all registered arrivals to Cyrus were Syrian.

GREECE: Nearly 30,300 refugees and migrants have arrived by land and sea in Greece with 64% by sea so far in 2018. Sea arrivals (19,459) in this period have increased by 29% compared to the same period last year (15,119). In August 2018, over 3,197 persons arrived in Greece by sea while the Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) intercepted or rescued over 1,520 in the Aegean. According to the TCG, the total number of rescued and intercepted persons reached 16,920 since the beginning of the year. The average daily number of sea arrivals to Greece in August was 103. At the Greek land border in Evros, a total of over 10,813 people have crossed into Greece in 2018 so far, with some 973 crossing during August, i.e. one third less than the 1,504 whom arrived in July. The top five countries of origin of arrivals by sea are Syrians (32%), Iraqis (20%), Afghans (19%), from Congo, Democratic Republic of (5%) and State of Palestine (4%).

ITALY: Over 20,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Italy by sea in 2018 so far. This is an 80% decrease compared to the same period in 2017 (over 99,120). The overall reduction trend in arrival numbers to Italy this year continues with lower numbers each month since May 2018.
An estimated 1,490 refugees and migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in August, a 62% decrease compared to those who arrived in August last year (3,910). Libya remains the main country of departure for persons arriving in Italy by sea. However, the proportion of sea arrivals departing from Libya has dropped significantly from 95% in JanuaryAugust 2017 to 62% in January-August 2018. Furthermore, the proportion of departures from Tunisia has gradually increased, reaching 22% in the first eight months of 2018, compared to 1% in the same period last year. The largest groups that arrived by sea in Italy in August were from Tunisia (19%), Eritrea (15%), and Sudan (8%). As of 31 August 2018, over 3,090 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) reached Italian shores.

SPAIN: In August, nearly 7,020 refugees and migrants arrived to Spain via land and sea borders of which 90% (6,400) arrived by sea. A total of 33,900 refugees and migrants have reached Spain both by land and sea so far in 2018, representing an increase of 123% compared to the same period in 2017 (over 15,000). The increase in arrivals continues to challenge existing reception capacity in some disembarkation locations in Spain. The five most common nationalities of sea arrivals in Spain so far this year are Guineans (18%), Malians (15%), Moroccans (15%), Ivoirians (14%) and Gambians (7%).

WESTERN BALKANS: As of 30 August, some 12,400 refugees and migrants reportedly arrived in BosniaHerzegovina (BiH) including some 2,300 who arrived in August – slightly lower than the 2,500 whom arrived the previous month. Among those, 34% were from Pakistan followed by Syrians (14%), Iranians (13%) and Afghans (10%).
While many of the refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina attempt to move onwards through Croatia and Slovenia, some 3,900 refugees and migrants were present in Serbia, a slight increase compared to the 3,600 recorded in July. UNHCR continues to offer its support to authorities and partners in order to address arising humanitarian needs.

Dead and Missing: So far in 2018, 1,550 people have died or gone missing while trying to reach Europe by sea.
Most deaths occurred along the Central Mediterranean route (over 1,110 or 72%) with 330 (21%) of the deaths along the route to Spain. In relation to the numbers crossing to Europe via the Central Mediterranean route, 1 in every 74 people attempting the crossing in August died or are missing, compared to 1 in 18 during the course of 2018.

Along land routes, at least 78 refugees or migrants are known to have died so far this year, more than in the whole of 2017 (75), at or near European borders. UNHCR brought attention to the fatal figures on 03 August noting that, “despite the total number of people arriving on European shores being significantly reduced compared to previous year, the rate of deaths is on the rise”.