More than one million refugees have made their way to Europe this year, with the Greek island of Lesvos, opposite Turkey, bearing the brunt of the massive influx, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Greece, which has been in the international spotlight for the greater part of the year, has seen 816,752 people, mostly from war-torn Syria and Afghanistan, reach its shores out of the 1,005,504 crossings by December 21 this year.
The island of Lesvos has for the past year become the main gateway to Europe, with almost half of the annual total doing so through its shores. The IOM added that the Greek islands saw over 4,100 people arrive on Monday alone.
More than 3,700 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean this year in their efforts to pass into Europe.
In the meantime, the refugee crisis, which is considered Europe’s largest since World War II, is creating dissent among EU leaders, who failed last week to agree to the Commission’s proposals for a new border and coastguard patrol, instead pledging to work towards ensuring more efficient registration and security checks of refugees while reiterating their vow to hand Turkey more than $3.2 billion to step up efforts to stem the influx. The UK also expressed its intent to hold a referendum by 2017 on a potential EU exit.
Photo source: IOM Greece