710,000 migrants and refugees entered the European Union so far this year – Frontex

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The total number of migrants and refugees who have crossed into the European Union so far this year has risen to more than 710,000, according to Frontex, the agency that manages the security of the EU’s external borders. The numbers are far higher than the 282,000 migrants recorded in all of 2014.

In September, the number of detections at EU’s external borders stood at 170,000, compared to 190,000 migrants recorded in August. Frontex said the Greek islands on the Aegean continue to be the most affected by the unprecedented inflow of people.

“Urgent assistance is needed, especially for Greece and Italy, to help register and identify the new arrivals,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri. “Earlier this month, I requested the EU countries to provide Frontex with additional border guards who can assist these two countries in dealing with such unprecedented flows. I do hope we receive adequate contributions which will show the true spirit of European solidarity.”

The Greek islands, especially Lesbos, continue to face a massive migratory pressure, with the number of detections in the January-September period reaching 350,000. In September, the number of people detected in the Eastern Mediterranean region was mostly flat at nearly 49,000, according to Frontex.

Syrian refugees remained the dominant nationality among the arriving migrants.

Due to an increasing shortage of boats in Libya and worsening weather conditions, the number of migrants arriving in Italy halved in the month of September to 12,000. This brought the figure for Italy in the first nine months of the year to nearly 129,000. Eritreans were the most numerous among the people using this route.

The massive numbers of migrants coming to the Greek islands continue to have a direct knock-on effect on the Western Balkan route, where Hungary reported more than 204,000 detections at its borders – 13 times higher than in the same period of 2014. An estimated 97,000 people, not yet included in the official figures, also entered the EU through Croatia in the second half of September after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia.

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