03:46 GMT18 April 2021
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

    The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) warned Europe on Tuesday of an imminent humanitarian crisis as the number of refugees in Greece in need immediate help reached 24,000.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the UNHCR, as of Tuesday, almost 132,000 people had crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe during January and February, of whom over 122,000 had arrived in Greece. The numbers exceed the total for the first half of 2015, despite the fact that overall Mediterranean arrivals slowed over the winter.

    "UNHCR is warning today that Europe is on the cusp of a largely self-induced humanitarian crisis. This is in light of a rapid build-up of people in an already struggling Greece, with governments not working together despite having already reached agreements in a number of areas, and country after country imposing new border restrictions. Inconsistent practices are causing unnecessary suffering and risk being at variance with EU and international law standards," UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters.

    Edwards noted that, as of Monday, the number of refugees and migrants in Greece who needed to be provided with accommodation had soared to 24,000, adding that about 8,500 of this group were near the border with Macedonia.

    "It remains absolutely vital therefore that the relocation efforts that Europe agreed to in 2015 are prioritized and implemented. It should concern everyone that despite commitments to relocate 66,400 refugees from Greece, States have so far only pledged 1,539 spaces, and only 325 actual relocations have occurred," Edwards stressed.

    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)


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