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UNHCR Europe Monthly Report (March 2019)

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In March, just over 4,500 refugees and migrants entered Europe, primarily via Italy, Greece and Spain. Overall arrivals to Spain decreased by just over 26% compared with the previous month (1,006 versus 1,366) while arrivals through routes to Greece (3,159 versus 2,316) and Italy (262 versus 60) increase compared with the previous month. So far this year some 15,900 refugees and migrants arrived to Europe via the three Mediterranean routes compared to over 19,200 that arrived in the same period last year, marking a 17% decrease.

ITALY: the number of arrivals by sea in March (262), while still very low in comparison to the same period last year (3,963), is the highest number of arrivals by sea via the Central Mediterranean route so far in 2019. As of 31 March, over 520 refugees and migrants reached Italy by sea, a 92% decrease compared to sea arrivals in the same period last year. Of those crossing the sea in March, 39% departed from Tunisia, 34% departed from Libya, 14% departed from Greece, and 13% departed from Algeria. The primary nationalities that have arrived by sea in 2019 so far are Tunisians (28%), Algerians (16%) and Iraqi (13%).

GREECE: in March, almost 3,160 refugees and migrants arrived by sea (60%) and land (40%) to Greece compared to over 3,940 whom arrived in the same period in 2018 (a 20% decrease). They mainly originated from Afghanistan (32%), Iraq (12%) and the Syrian Arab Republic (11%). As of the end of March, the nearly 8,130 arrivals to Greece are consistent with the same period last year (7,908). In addition, the number of persons rescued or intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guards after departing from the Turkish coastline is 4,316 since the beginning of the year, consistent with the same period in 2018 (4,214 individuals). At the land border, 1,255 people arrived to Evros in March, an increase from the previous two months (801 and 830) and similar to the 1,500 arrivals of the same period in 2018.