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Over 1 Million Migrants Reached Europe by Sea: UN
   2015-12-31 21:08:01    Xinhua      Web Editor: Guan Chao

Some 500 Syrian would be immigrants arrive aboard the Ezadeen ship at Corigliano harbour on January 2, 2015. [Photo: CFP]

The UN said on Wednesday that more than 1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by sea this year.

Spokesperson for the UN's refugee agency Adrian Edwards says the figure was a massive increase from the previous record.

"This is a staggering increase over just 12 months. At the end of 2014 we had 219,000 arrivals in the Mediterranean through Europe; that was also a record. This is almost five times that level. In addition, tragically we are also seeing an increase in the number of deaths, almost 4000 lives lost in 2015."

According to the UN and the International Organization for Migration, half of the arrivals by sea were from Syria, while 20% were Afghans, and 7% were Iraqis.

People who arrived via smuggling operations accounted for around half of the total arrivals. Those operations reportedly earned a total of at least 1 billion US Dollars.

The UN spokesperson called for more safe alternatives for the dislocated, such as visa and resettlement programs. The UN said last week the figure for refugees and internally displaced people far exceeds 60 million globally.

Besides the Syrian war, other conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, as well as Ebola and an earthquake in Nepal have all contributed to the migrant flow.

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