Migrant arrivals to Italy up 12 per cent in July, EU's Frontex says

Italy recorded almost 25,300 migrant arrivals in July, an increase of 12 per cent from the same month of 2015, the European Union's border agency Frontex said Friday.

Italy became the main entry route for EU-bound migrants earlier this year, after borders were closed along the so-called Balkan route, which passes through Greece.

Nevertheless, Frontex said the provisional 2016 tally of migrant arrivals to Italy, at nearly 95,000, was stable from the figure recorded in January-July 2015.

In Greece, there were only about 1,800 migrant landings in July, a 97-per-cent reduction compared to the same month of 2015.

The figures were released as Italian authorities were struggling with a migrant reception crisis in towns near frontiers with France and Switzerland, such as Ventimiglia and Como.

Most of the people who land in Italy want to travel on to wealthier countries in northern Europe, but do not have a legal right to do so and are turned back if caught at border crossings.

Amid a reported spike in deaths at sea, Frontex also said smugglers were forcing migrants "onto even more overcrowded boats," usually "poor quality" dinghies and small wooden boats that left passengers fearing for their lives.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 3,151 migrants died or went missing in the Mediterranean Sea from January 1 to August 10, a sharp increase from the 1,909 recorded during January-July of 2015.

Last update: Fri, 12/08/2016 - 20:20

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