The number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe this year has been more than 300,00 – up from 219,000 for the whole of 2014.
Those figures are from the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR.
So why the steep increase?
That’s a question euronews put to the regional Director of the International Organisation for Migration in Brussels, Eugenio Ambrosi:
“One element of this is of course the season, because the majority of those people come across the Mediterranean, so of course with the summer and the relatively calm sea, the number of people that try to reach the shore of Europe increases because of the weather condition.
But the main reasons of the origin of this big flow is what we are witnessing in other regions of the world that are not too far from Europe: the war in Syria has been going on for 5 years, internal as well external displacement of Syrians has continue to grow over these 5 years ; countries in the region are overwhelmed by the number of refugees coming from Syria, so obviously a lot of these people seek an alternative by moving further north and trying to reach Europe through different routes.
You have the situation of instability in North Africa, you have Libya that right now has no efficient government system, you have other pockets of violence in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa that also push people to move further north, and you have then a considerable flow of migrants who are now arriving in Europe, that come from country where the economic situation and the poverty level that they have in their own country is such that in order to attempt to survive themselves and their family have to seek an alternative elsewhere.”
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