Germany, 11th August 2016 : The International Organization for Migration estimates that over 260,000 refugees and other migrants have arrived in Europe this year after crossing the Mediterranean Sea and that more than 3,100 have died attempting to cross.
The IOM said Tuesday that 263,636 people arrived by sea between Jan. 1 and Sunday — compared with 354,618 from January through the end of August 2015. It said 160,888 had arrived in Greece and 100,244 in Italy.
The organization put the number of dead or missing in the Mediterranean this year at 3,176 through Sunday — higher than the 2,754 it recorded in last year’s first eight months. More than 2,700 of those cases were on the dangerous central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy.
Austrian police have detained 22 migrants from Bangladesh, Syria, Turkey and Pakistan on the border to Slovenia.
A police statement says the group ranges from 16 to 26 in age. Members say they were smuggled into Austria on a truck from Serbia after paying between 500 and 1,500 euros ($550-$1,700).
The police statement on Tuesday says Slovenia will be asked to take the group back.
The West Balkans migration route — which was formerly used by thousands of migrants daily to move from Serbia into Slovenia and then Austria — has been formally closed since early this year. But isolated cases of human smuggling continue along that path for those migrants still trying to move from Greece into Western Europe.
A Roman Catholic diocese in Bavaria says it has ended a five-week protest at a church building by migrants from the Balkans.
Some 50 migrants started camping out at Regensburg Cathedral early last month, demanding the right to stay in Germany and protesting the Balkan nations’ designation as safe countries. A few days later, most moved to a vicarage across town.
The Regensburg diocese said that, after three weeks, some of the migrants embarked on a hunger strike and later started threatening to kill themselves and their children. The diocese said it was “no longer responsible” to allow them to stay and demanded that they leave.
The diocese eventually stopped providing food. It said the last 16 people were persuaded to leave Monday by police.