Last month, more than 218,000 migrants reached Europe by sea according to the United Nations – about the same as the number for the whole of 2014. More than 10,000 arrived in Greece alone on a single day. So far this year, nearly 3,500 are estimated to have died trying to get to Europe.
The vast majority have come via Turkey to Greece. This has replaced the route to Italy via Libya which used to be more popular. The highest number come from Syria – about 53 per cent, with Afghanistan next – 18 per cent.
The United Nations has been heavily critical of Europe’s response, but the organisation’s own predictions for the number of migrants expected have been gross underestimates. It forecast 700,000 for the whole year, but at the end of October with two months still to go, that figure had already been exceeded by 44,000.
Normally the numbers fall during the winter months, but that may not happen this year as the people traffickers seem to be offering bad weather discounts. The fact that some of the Islamic fanatics who carried out the mass murders in Paris apparently slipped into Europe as ‘refugees’ has heightened alarm.