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IOM Records Over 45,000 Refugee Arrivals to Greece by Sea in 2016

© REUTERS / Alexandros AvramidisRefugees and migrants sleep on the railway tracks close to the borders of Greece with Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, September 6, 2015
Refugees and migrants sleep on the railway tracks close to the borders of Greece with Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, September 6, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Since the beginning of 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 45,361 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece by sea, according to the organisation's statement.

Refugees and migrants are silhouetted as they arrive aboard the passenger ferry Ariadne at the port of Piraeus, near Athens, Greece, January 4, 2016. - Sputnik International
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UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — The number of migrant and refugee arrivals to Greece by sea so far in 2016 stands at 45,361 people, almost 31 times more than between January 1 and 31, 2015, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a statement Tuesday.

"Since the beginning of 2016, IOM estimates that 45,361 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece by sea. This is roughly 31 times as many as the 1,472 recorded by the Greek Coast Guard for the whole of January 2015," IOM said.

According to the statement, some 90 percent of the arrivals originate from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the three nationalities that have automatic permission to cross into Macedonia.

Peopl react after arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos along with other migrants and refugees, on November 17, 2015, after crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey - Sputnik International
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IOM added that the death toll in the Mediterranean Sea continues to rise, having reached 177 since January 1, against 77 deaths for the same period in 2015.

Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries to escape violence and poverty. Many of them take the West Balkan route, which crosses Greece, using the county as an entry-point to the bloc from which to travel to wealthier EU states where they intend to apply for asylum.

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