More than 1 million migrants and refugeeshavecrossedinto Europe either by land or by sea this year, a four fold increase fromlast year, according to figures releasedTuesday by the International Organization for Migration.
Europe is now struggling with the greatest refugee crisis since the end of the World War II.
About 3 percent of the migrants who arrived to Europe traveled by land, according to the IOM.
Over 800,000 migrants traveled from Turkey to Greece this year, the BBC news portal reported.
Germany has already seen its total pass one million, but that also includes migrants from the Balkan countries within Europe.
The IOM says that 3,695 migrants are known to have drowned this year or remain missing.
The director general of IOM, William Lacy Swing, has called the Mediterranean “the deadliest route for migrants on our planet”.
“But it’s not enough to count the number of those arriving, we must also act”, he added, calling for “legal, safe and secure” migration for those forced to leave their home country.
Half of those arriving to Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus by December 21 were Syrians fleeing war, another 20 percent were Afghans, and seven percent were Iraqis.
Some 219,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean previous year. “We just hope people are treated with dignity”.
“‘I don’t understand why people are insisting that this is a European problem”.
Asked if he would consider reaching out to political leaders stoking anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and the United States, Swing said: “We may have to”.
The IOM said anti-migrant sentiment taking hold in several nations facing an influx of refugees is disturbing, unsafe and puts people’s lives at risk.
They criticised a public campaign launched by the Hungarian government this month that they said portrayed refugees, majority coming from war-torn Syria, as “criminals, invaders and terrorists based on their religious beliefs and places of origin”.