The number of migrants and refugees who have arrived in Europe over the past year has topped 1 million, marking the highest migration flow since World War II.
In its latest report, the International Organization for Migration also lays out some grim statistics: The number of refugees and migrants who die on their journey is rising — 3,692 so far — and many of them are young children.
“We know migration is inevitable, necessary and desirable,” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing said in a statement. “But it’s not enough to count the number of those arriving — or the nearly 4,000 this year reported missing or drowned. We must also act. Migration must be legal, safe and secure for all — both for the migrants themselves and the countries that will become their new homes.”
Reuters reports that the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says it expects the flow of migrants to remain about the same in the new year.
“The record movement of people into Europe is a symptom of a record level of disruption around the globe, with numbers of refugees and internally displaced people far surpassing 60 million, UNHCR said last week.
” ‘I don’t understand why people are insisting that this is a European problem. This is a global issue,’ Michael Moller, director of the U.N. office in Geneva, told a news conference on Tuesday.
“The U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres called on Friday for a ‘massive resettlement’ of Syrian and other refugees within Europe, to distribute many hundreds of thousands of people before the continent’s asylum system crumbles.”
The Guardian reports that the numbers released today by the IOM represent a “four-fold increase from 2014’s figures, and has largely been driven by Syrians fleeing their country’s civil war.”
Afghans and Iraqis are also migrating to Europe in large numbers.