Originally posted on Global News:
BERLIN – The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to southern Europe was more than 80 per cent higher in the first half of 2015 than a year earlier, with deaths initially soaring before dropping back as rescue efforts at sea were stepped up, the U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday.
The routes taken by refugees and migrants also shifted, with Greece overtaking Italy to become the primary point of arrival, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said.
Data from Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain showed 137,000 people arriving there between January and June, an 83-per cent increase from 75,000 in the first half of last year, the agency said in a report. It noted that crossings usually increase in the year’s second half, particularly during summer.
By far, the largest group of refugees was from Syria. In all, 43,900 Syrians arrived in Europe by sea, 34 per cent of the…
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