The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for 2017 outlines the intended operational response and financial requirements for the response to the large-scale population movements registered throughout Europe since 2015. The response is primarily designed on the basis of protection-related concerns and humanitarian imperatives.
In 2017, the response by humanitarian partners will primarily focus on the relatively static and increasing populations in Greece and Italy. The RMRP presents a set of measures that will enable the humanitarian community to contribute to the protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants, as well as the human rights of all people involved. The following report is a summary of key interventions applied across various sectors throughout the region by humanitarian partners during the third quarter of 2017.
Between 01 January 2017 and 30 September 2017, 138,300 refugees and migrants arrived by sea through the Mediterranean (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, 13% women and 70% men. The reduced number of refugees and migrants entering Europe via the Central Mediterranean route since mid-July continued with just under 6,000 people arriving by sea in Italy in September, a 65% decrease compared to September 2016. While the increased arrivals of refugees and migrants via the Western Mediterranean route to Spain this year continued with an 8% increase in September compared to September last year, arrival numbers in September fell 36% compared to August. In Greece, a total of over 20,000 people arrived in Greece by sea in the first three quarters of 2017, nearly one third of whom in August (3,600) and September (4,900). The majority of arrivals were to Lesvos, followed by Samos. In addition, arrivals have increased through the Greek-Turkish land border of Evros, with an estimated 573 people arriving in August, and 1,079 in September 2017. As of 30 September, over 104,800 refugees and migrants arrived in Italy by sea in 2017 (a 64% drop compared to the same period in 2016), including over 13,500 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), accounting for 13% of sea arrivals. While arrivals from Libya to Italy have reduced, the proportion of arrivals by sea into Italy from other countries such as Algeria and Tunisia have increased.
Irregular mixed movements continue through the Central Europe region, often facilitated by smuggling networks. During the third quarter of 2017 this included nearly 500 people arriving by boat in Romania after departing from Turkey. So far this year almost 4,500 people were intercepted by border authorities in Bulgaria during their attempt to pass irregularly through the country on their way to other EU Member States.
Throughout the region UNHCR and partners monitor border movements and reception conditions, providing legal assistance and other forms of support as required.