Migrants disembark in Cadiz, Spain. Credit: EPA/A.CARRASCO RAGEL
Migrants disembark in Cadiz, Spain. Credit: EPA/A.CARRASCO RAGEL

According to the latest IOM data, a total of 65,576 migrants arrived in Europe via sea this year as of August 22. Spain was the first country for number of arrivals this year.

The UN migration agency IOM reports that 65,576 migrants and refugees entered Europe via sea this year as of August 22, including 27,577 in Spain. 

The total figure is almost half that of the 120,624 arrivals in the region in the same period of last year and much lower than the 217,951 seen in 2016. The arrivals until the end of August in Italy are the lowest seen at this point in a summer season in almost five years.

The IOM also reports that 1,546 people died in trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2018. 

Numbers in Spain and Greece 

With 42% of all arrivals this year, Spain continues to accept migrants via sea in August at a level that is over double that of Greece and over six times that of Italy. 

The head of IOM's branch in Spain, Ana Dodevska, reported that the total number of arrivals via sea in Spain in 2018 was 27,577 and that 8,150 men, women an children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa in the first five months of the year: an average of 54 per day. 

Some 17,955 migrants arrived in Greece via sea this year as of August 22. 

Situation in the Balkans 

Almost 16,000 migrants were recorded between January and the second half of August in countries along the Western Balkans route from Greece to Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Some 77% of all irregular migrants were recorded in Bosnia-Herzegovina for a total of 11,589 in the period between January and August 19, 2018. 

Due to tighter border control with nearby EU states, migrants have limited options for continuing their journey towards Western Europe, and this led to an increase in migrants staying in the country. The remaining 4,148 irregular migrants were recorded by the authorities of Montenegro and Albania, mainly in Montenegro, where between January and August 15 some 2,744 new arrivals were recorded.

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