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UNHCR Europe Monthly Report, February 2019

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In February, just over 3,600 refugees and migrants entered Europe via Italy, Greece and Spain. Overall arrivals to Spain (1,366 versus 4,612) decreased by just over 70% compared with the previous month while arrivals through routes to Greece (2,316 versus 2,652) and Italy (60 versus 202) decreased compared with the previous month. So far this year some 8,700 refugees and migrants arrived to Europe by sea compared to nearly 10,700 that arrived in the same period last year, marking an 18% decrease.

ITALY: the number of refugees and migrants arriving by sea in February (60) was the lowest number of arrivals by sea via the Central Mediterranean route since early 2013. Of those crossing the sea in February, 65% departed from Algeria and 35% departed from Tunisia, while no one departed from Libya. Of those arriving in Italy in January, 118 had departed from Libya. While departure numbers from the Libyan coast are lower in general, the Libyan Coast Guard has reported rescuing or intercepting over 300 persons in February. As of the end of February, arrival numbers by sea to Italy are 95% lower than in the first two months of 2018.
The primary nationalities that have arrived by sea in 2019 so far are Bangladeshi (29%), Tunisians (26%), Algerians (20%) and Iraqis (19%).

GREECE: in February, nearly 1,500 (1,486) refugees and migrants arrived by sea in Greece compared to over 1,250 whom arrived in the same period in 2018 (a 18% increase). They mainly originated from Afghanistan (49%), Iraq (12%), State of Palestine (12%) and the Syrian Arab Republic (9%). As of the end of February, sea arrivals to Greece have increased 16% compared to the same period in 2018. In addition, the number of persons rescued or intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guards after departing from the Turkish coastline has almost doubled this year compared to the same period last year. At the land border, 830 people arrived to Evros in February, almost at pace with the arrivals of January (801) and almost 53% more than the 544 arrivals of the same period in 2018.

SPAIN: nearly 1,400 people crossed the land and sea borders from North Africa in February, an increase of 8% compared to February 2018, when unusually high numbers (over 1,600) crossed the land borders.

Their primary countries of origin are Guinea, Mali and Morocco.

Dead and Missing: As of 28 February, over 225 people have died or gone missing while trying to reach Europe by sea which is a 74% decrease compared to the number of deaths between January and February in 2018 (870). So far in 2019, 150 people are believed to have died while crossing the sea to Italy, double the 70 people that are believed to have died while crossing the sea to Spain.

In addition, at least 15 refugees or migrants have died along land routes in Europe or at Europe’s borders.

Resettlement: In 2018, there were 26,084 resettlement departures to Europe, whereas in 2017 there were 27,450 resettlement arrivals. During 2018, over 32,300 refugees were submitted by UNHCR for resettlement to 20 countries in Europe, 17% less than in 2017.

In 2018, six countries in Europe (the UK, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway) received 80% of all resettlement submissions. The vast majority of refugees submitted for resettlement to Europe in 2018 are originally from Syria (69%), consistent with 2017. In total, 93% of refugees submitted for resettlement to Europe in 2018 originate from just seven countries: Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. 16% of submissions to Europe are from East Africa and just under 2% are from West Africa. More information is available in the Europe resettlement 2018 update.