The International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed on Monday that more than 1 million migrants and refugees arrived to Europe in 2015, mostly from Syria, Africa and South Asia. File photo by Borce Popovski/UPI | License Photo
GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees confirmed more than 1 million migrants and refugees arrived to Europe in 2015, mostly from Syria, Africa and South Asia.
The IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix -- Flow Monitoring System was able to determine that roughly 1,005,504 migrants and refugees have already arrived, constituting the highest migration flow since World War II.
"We know migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable," IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said in a statement Monday. "But it's not enough to count the number of those arriving -- or the nearly 4,000 this year reported missing or drowned. We must also act. Migration must be legal, safe and secure for all -- both for the migrants themselves and the countries that will become their new homes."
About 3 percent of the migrants who arrived to Europe traveled by land, according to the IOM. Most migrants traveled to Greece (821,008), followed by Italy (150,317).
"One in every two of those crossing the Mediterranean this year -- half a million people -- were Syrians escaping the war in their country. Afghans accounted for 20 percent and Iraqis for 7 percent," the UNHCR said in a statement.
Nearly 3,700 migrants have died this year -- over 400 more than in 2014, according to the agency.
"The tally of fatalities also continues to rise, with 20 new deaths recorded in the Eastern Mediterranean since last Friday," the IOM writes. "On Dec. 19 a wooden boat carrying 62 migrants capsized off Chios Island and a 2-year old Iraqi boy drowned. According to the Greek Coast Guard, six of the 15 bodies of migrants and refugees to wash up on Greek islands this month have been infants or children."
The IOM's report doesn't quite sync up with Germany's announcement earlier this month that it received 1 million asylum-seekers. Some observers say Germany's actual number is lower as some asylum seekers may have registered more than once.