The number of migrants arriving in Greece in January fell to 68,000, down nearly 40% in comparison with December 2015, due in large part to poor weather conditions around the Aegean islands. The rough seas also led to a significant increase in fatalities in the waters between Turkey and Greece.
Despite the drop in migrant arrivals from the previous month, the figure for January 2016 was 38 times higher than the number recorded in January 2015. Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis continued to account for the largest share of the migrants detected in Greece.
Winter weather also affected the number of rescued migrants on the Central Mediterranean route. The figure fell 42% month-on-month to 5,600 in January, although it was still 55% higher than in January 2015. Nigerians were the most numerous among migrants who were brought to Italy.
The number of detections of illegal border crossings at the EU borders in Western Balkans in January fell to 65,300, down a third from December 2015. A year ago, most of the migrants on the Western Balkan route originated from the region, mainly Kosovo. However, in recent months the migrants detected at the borders first entered the EU in Greece and left through Macedonia. Consequently, a large number of the people who were counted when they arrived in Greece were again counted when entering the EU for the second time in Croatia.
Data presented refer to the number of detections of illegal border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person may attempt to cross the border irregularly several times in different locations at the external border.