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    Refugees in Europe

    Number of Missing Refugees Reaches Record Levels in 2017 - Reports

    © AFP 2018 / Armend Nimani
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    The migrants include unaccompanied boys and girls who are less likely to survive on dangerous routes than adults.

    The number of refugees reported missing by their relatives to the German Red Cross (DRK) is extraordinarily high, German newspaper Die Zeit wrote, referring to the latest DRK data.

    Despite the fact that the inflow of migrants to Germany has decreased this year, over 2,700 migrants have gone missing in the period from January to mid-December.

    The figures are nearly as high as in the record year of 2016, when 2,800 of such claims were registered.

    In 2014, before the migration crisis hit Germany, the number of such inquiries was 1,053.

    READ MORE: UN: Tens of Thousands of Migrants Have Died en Route to Europe Since 2000

    Gerda Hasselfeldt, a member of the CDU/CSU party and Germany's former minister of health, told the newspaper that there is a high number of unaccompanied minor refugees who have been either reported missing or are looking for their relatives.

    Information is lacking on about 1,000 girls and boys, she noted.

    Most search requests come from Afghans, Somalis and Syrians. In some cases, the DRK search service was able to help or at least provide information, but in others there is still no data, leading to assumptions that some people might have died on their way to Europe.

    "Since the identification of the dead along various escape routes is not always possible, many fates remain unknown," Hasselfeldt said.

    READ MORE: MSF Proposes Way to End Refugees' Life-Threatening Boat Trips to Europe

    Germany has been struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, which escalated in 2015 with hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in EU member states.

    Many refugees tried to reach Europe via dangerous routes, including life-threatening trips by sea that often led to tragic deaths. In total, the UN estimates that more than 30,000 migrants have died in recent years trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Europe.

    In 2017, the number of asylum applications has significantly decreased compared to previous years.

    According to the Ministry of Interior, around 187,000 people applied for asylum in Germany in the first 10 months of 2017. In the same period last year, there were about 694,000 such applications.

    Related:

    Number of Illegal Refugees Entering Germany Drops Fourfold in 2017 - Reports
    Germany Cites Denmark as Role Model in Dealing With Refugees
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    missing, refugees, Europe, Germany
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