More than 1 million migrants crossed into Europe in 2015, migration organization says

Two migrants pull an overcrowded dinghy with Syrian and Afghan refugees arriving from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos.

reporting from geneva — More than 1 million migrants and refugees have crossed into Europe this year, the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday, passing a symbolic milestone amid the fallout of war, poverty and persecution in Africa and the Middle East.

With just days left in 2015, the Geneva-based intergovernmental organization says the 1-million mark was crossed Monday, marking more than a fourfold increase from last year.


The IOM said more than 820,000 crossed into Greece from Turkey, including more than 455,000 from Syria and over 186,000 from Afghanistan. Nearly 3,700 others died trying to cross the Mediterranean.

The 162-country intergovernmental agency says the arrival of more than 4,100 people into Greece on Monday put the annual total over 1 million. The figure includes more than 34,000 arrivals by land from Turkey into neighboring Greece and Bulgaria, or only about 3.5%  of the total this year.


Most of the 2,889 deaths this year happened on the Mediterranean between northern Africa and Italy, the IOM said. Another 706 people are known to have died trying to cross the Aegean between the Turkish coast and a number of nearby Greek islands.

The IOM says its figures are pulled together through a combination of people registered and thus counted, as well as estimates given the sheer numbers. The agency compiles figures provided by law enforcement in countries including Italy and Greece, and its own monitors carry out a real-time count on the Greek islands and in Italy.

The migrant crisis, Europe's worst since World War II, has forced European governments to scramble to cobble together a response, and caused rifts among E.U. member states.

Germany and Sweden have been among the most welcoming, and some less-wealthy eastern European countries have erected border fences in an attempt to block the flood of migrants and refugees.

Germany has seen around 1 million migrants arrive this year, but that figure includes large numbers of people from Balkan countries who arrived earlier in 2015.


Famed human rights lawyer sentenced in China

Retired French policeman detained after fake bomb found on Air France flight


Photographer's journal: A look at the migrant crisis in Lesbos, Greece