Migrants arrive with a dinghy accompanied by a Frontex vessel at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesvos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on February 28, 2020. [AP]
The number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece by sea has more than doubled in 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to updated data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Indicatively, the data showed that between January 1 and August 13, a total of 10,790 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece via sea routes. In the corresponding period of 2022, arrivals by sea were less than half at 5,216. Most of these arrivals were from the Palestinian territories (1,394), followed by those from Afghanistan (717), Somalia (636), Syria (561) and Eritrea (536).
A similar picture was recorded in 2022 with 943 Palestinians, 832 Afghans, 805 Somalis and 508 Syrians. At the same time, so far, in the first eight months of 2023, 3,538 arrivals of refugees and migrants have been recorded via land routes.
Total arrivals for 2022, were 6,022. However, the number of refugees and migrants who have lost their lives making the crossing in 2023 is particularly high. According to UNHCR data, up until August 15 the number of dead and missing persons on the Eastern Mediterranean sea routes was 693, against 343 throughout 2022.
These figures have raised reasonable concern that the number of dead and missing may even exceed the dismal record of 793 in 2015, a year with over a million arrivals.