Last June of 2015, headlines were made when the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released figures that 100,000 refugees had arrived in Europe via Greece. It was a shocking figure for the first six months of the year.
Yesterday, IOM released statistics that the same number— 102,500 to be exact, have arrived on Greece’s islands in the first two months of 2016, alone.
The IOM said nearly half of all arrivals were Syrians, fleeing war in their country with 20% of the arrivals from Afghanistan.
In addition to the 102,500 who reached Greece, via Turkey, an additional 7,500 reached Italy.
More than 400 people are known to have drowned attempting to make the journey.
Meanwhile, as refugees continue to arrive in record numbers and the arrival of Spring weather in the eastern Mediterranean is certain to embolden the Turkish smugglers who are changing upwards of $2,000 per head for a spot on a dinghy across the straits between Greece and Turkey, the European response remains in chaos.
The European Union has not been able to develop an effective policy to handle the influx amongst its members with some countries closing borders and other, non-EU members like the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia closing borders to Afghan refugees, but allowing others to pass.