Migrants arriving to the trading port in Melilla after they were rescued by Sea Rescue members at the Chafarinas Islands on the Mediterranean Sea | PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/FG Guerrero
Migrants arriving to the trading port in Melilla after they were rescued by Sea Rescue members at the Chafarinas Islands on the Mediterranean Sea | PHOTO/ARCHIVE/EPA/FG Guerrero

The EU agency Frontex has reported that the number of irregular border crossings on Europe's main migratory routes in January and February 2020 rose by 27% compared to the same period last year.

Overall, the total number of irregular border crossings in the first two months of 2020 rose to 16,900, 27% more than during the same period of 2019. 

However, the numbers dropped in February by 42% compared with the previous month to around 6,200, Frontex states.

Most traffic on Eastern route 

The Eastern Mediterranean route accounted for the largest share of detections of illegal border crossings in January and February, though the number dropped by 42% (to 2,500) from January to February. The February data does not include an increase in migrants that has tried to enter Greece since March 1.

A total of 7,000 illegal crossings were detected in the first two months on the Eastern route, says Frontex, which is 16% more than a year ago. 

Central Mediterranean route up 762%

The number of migrants arriving in Europe via the central Mediterranean route dropped in February by almost three quarters on the previous month, to just over 450. The total number of reported migrant arrivals between January and February was around 2,200 according to Frontex data -- that's a 762% increase on the first two months of 2019.

Most of the migrants on the central Mediterranean route were nationals of Bangladesh, Algeria, and Ivory Coast, Frontex notes.
 

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