Europe struggles to respond as migrants numbers rise threefold

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Greek Island Struggles to Cope with Migrant Crisis

More than three times as many migrants were tracked entering the European Union by irregular means last month than a year ago, official data showed on Tuesday, many of them landing on Greek islands after fleeing conflict in Syria.

While the increase recorded by the European Union's border control agency Frontex may be partly due to better monitoring, it highlighted the scale of a crisis that has led to more than 2,000 deaths this year as desperate migrants take to rickety boats.

Italian police said they had arrested eight suspected human traffickers that they said had reportedly forced migrants to stay in the hold of a fishing boat in the Mediterranean as 49 of them suffocated on engine fumes.

Related images of migrants in Greece:

22 PHOTOS
NTP: Migrants ditch Turkey for twinkling lights of Kos
See Gallery
Europe struggles to respond as migrants numbers rise threefold
An abandoned rubber dinghy is left abandoned on the beach by migrants, following a failed attempt to cross from near the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, to the Greek island of Kos, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this early Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 photo, migrants start their journey on a dinghy from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey in order to cross to the nearby Greek island of Kos. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Migrant Youssef Ahmed Zaid, 5, from Afghanistan, smiles at the bus station where his family have sought shelter until they cross into Greece, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this early Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 photo, migrants start their journey on a dinghy from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey in order to cross to the nearby Greek island of Kos. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this early Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015 photo, migrants mostly from Iran, including children, start their journey on a dinghy from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, to the nearby Greek island of Kos. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A child enjoys a water slide on a beach near the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Omar, 54, last name not given, a Syrian migrant from Aleppo, sits with his son, Ayham, 4, at the bus station of the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, where they are sheltering until they cross into Greece, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A view of the 15th century castle in the town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A clothing shop owner sits next to life jackets offered for sale to migrants looking to cross into boats to the Greek Island of Kos, at the bus station market of the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
People enjoy the beach near the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Ayham, 4, last name not given, a Syrian migrant from Aleppo, rests at the bus station where his family has sought shelter until they cross into Greece, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Ayhem had had an open heart surgery and he needs to get proper medical treatment in Europe, his father Omar said. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Migrants walk through the bus station market area where they sought shelter, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, until they try to cross with boats into Greece, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Syrian migrant Eyad Saleh, 35, smokes as he sits with a life jacket as he waits for the chance to cross to the nearby Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. Saleh says his three and a half year old daughter Maria, who suffers from Down syndrome and eating disorder, has to get to Europe in order to get proper medical treatment.The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Migrant brothers Youssef Ahmed Zaid, 5, center, and three and a half year old Muslim Ahmed Zeid, right, from Afghanistan, along with the rest of the family, sit at the bus station where they have sought shelter until they can cross into Greece, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Migrants sleep on the marina promenade of the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this early Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 photo, migrants on a dinghy, bottom right, that left from near the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, travel to the Greek island of Kos, seen in the background. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this photo taken Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, a Syrian migrant child plays in a park where his family are waiting for the chance to cross with to the nearby Greek island of Kos, on the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An inflatable donut to be used as a life jacket is seen in a tree near where migrants from Syria are seeking shelter while waiting to cross to the nearby Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015. The city of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this photo taken early Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, a Turkish man who happened to be on the beach tries to persuade migrants not to cross on a dinghy from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey to the nearby Greek island of Kos. The town of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this photo taken early Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, Turkish Coast Guard officers on a boat, right, capture migrants on a dinghy, left, that left from the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, to cross to the Greek island of Kos. The town of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Migrants from Syria wait as they try to head to the meeting point in order to try to cross with boats to the nearby Greek island of Kos, at the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, early Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. The town of Bodrum, a magnet for wealthy tourists, is these days drawing plenty of other visitorsó migrants fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and seeking a better life in Europe. At its closest point, the Greek island of Kos is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Turkey and migrants, mostly from Syria, but also from Afghanistan, Iran and African nations often try to cross in groups upward of eight people in small inflatable plastic boats meant for a maximum of four, powered by tiny electric outboard motors and plastic paddles. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Some of those traffickers were accused of kicking the heads of the migrants when they tried to climb out of the hold as the air became unbreathable, prosecutor Michelangelo Patane told a news conference in Catania, Sicily.

The dead migrants were discovered last weekend, packed into a fishing boat also carrying 312 others trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy from North Africa.

It was the third mass fatality in the Mediterranean this month: last week, up to 50 migrants were unaccounted for when their rubber dinghy sank, a few days after some 200 were presumed dead when their boat capsized off Libya.

Greece appealed to its European Union partners to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with what new data showed were 21,000 refugees landed on Greek shores last week alone.

A spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in Geneva said the European Union should help Greece but that Athens, which is struggling with a debt crisis, also needed to show 'much more leadership' on the issue.

Greek officials said they needed better coordination within the European Union. "This problem cannot be solved by imposing stringent legal processes in Greece, and, certainly, not by overturning the boats," said government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili.

Nor could it be addressed by building fences, she said.

Related images of migrants trying to cross from Serbia to Turkey:

20 PHOTOS
NTP: Migrants surge across Balkans to beat Hungary's razor fence
See Gallery
Europe struggles to respond as migrants numbers rise threefold
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants hide as they wait for the night to fall in a field of corn meters away from the Serbian-Hungarian border, in Horgos, (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, migrants disembark a local bus in Kanjiza, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, a boy washes his shirt inside a camp for migrants in Kanjiza, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants from Syria rest by the side of a dirt road while on their way to cross the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants from Syria walk through a field on their way to the Serbian-Hungarian border, in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants walk through a field on their way to the Serbian-Hungarian border, in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a Serbian border stone at the Serbian-Hungarian border in Hajdukovo, Serbia. Some 1,000 migrants per day tried to cross into Hungary from Serbia before Hungary announced plans for the razor-wire fence a few months ago. That number has shot up to 1,500. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants hide in a corn field meters away from the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a migrant from Syria checks his mobile phone GPS feature close to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a group of migrants heads out to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a migrant uses his mobile phone GPS while hiding in a corn field meters away from the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a group of migrants heads out to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. Traffic sign reads "State Border" in Serbian. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a Hungarian police patrol vehicle passes by a section of a border fence at the Serbian-Hungarian border in Hajdukovo, Serbia. Some 1,000 migrants per day tried to cross into Hungary from Serbia before Hungary announced plans for the razor-wire fence a few months ago. That number has shot up to 1,500. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, children play at a migrant camp close to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Kanjiza, Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, the Serbian-Hungarian border is seen through an opening of a Cold War era deserted army bunker in Hajdukovo, Serbia. Some 1,000 migrants per day tried to cross into Hungary from Serbia before Hungary announced plans for the razor-wire fence a few months ago. That number has shot up to 1,500. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants board a bus that will take them closer to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Kanjiza, Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, a group of migrants heads out to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, a migrant youth peers through a window of a local bus close to the Serbian-Hungarian border in Kanjiza, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, migrants hide in a corn field meters away from the Serbian-Hungarian border in Horgos, Serbia. Serbia's border with EU-member Hungary has become a major crossing point for tens of thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa who are using the so-called Balkan route to enter the EU while fleeing poverty and wars in their home countries. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

"EMERGENCY SITUATION"

Hungary, which has attracted criticism from the United Nations refugee agency with its plans to build a fence to stem an influx of migrants, said on Tuesday it would send thousands of policemen to patrol the southern border with Serbia.

Hungary reported detecting more than 34,800 people in July crossing its borders from non-EU states, notably via Serbia.

Frontex said it recorded some 107,500 people arriving outside regular channels in July, after a previous record in June of over 70,000, and more than three times as many as July last year.

The most active frontiers were those of the Greek islands in the Aegean off Turkey, where nearly 50,000 people were recorded arriving by sea, mainly on Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos.

There were chaotic scenes on the island of Kos last week, where local police locked migrants in an outdoors athletics stadium to process them. On one occasion police sprayed fire extinguishers at the crowds to keep them back.

The Greek state eventually charted a passenger ship to house and process migrants in an attempt to ease conditions onshore, where many are living in tents, some in shelters made from cardboard boxes.

Nearly 340,000 such migrants were seen so far this year arriving in the EU, mainly in Italy, Greece and Hungary. That was a 175 percent rise on the same period last year and much more than the 280,000 registered arrivals in all of 2014.

Other EU data shows 625,920 people claimed asylum in the bloc last year. Frontex officials were not immediately available to comment on how far the increase in numbers being detected may be a result of increased monitoring of the frontiers.

In Germany alone, which recorded 203,000 claims last year, officials said on Tuesday they expect to register some 750,000 refugees this year.

"Syrians and Afghans accounted for a lion's share of the record number of migrants entering the EU illegally," Frontex said in a statement. "Most of them, fleeing instability in their home countries, initially entered Greece from Turkey."

Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri said: "This is an emergency situation for Europe that requires all EU member states to step in to support the national authorities who are taking on a massive number of migrants at its borders."

(Additional reporting by Isla Binnie in Rome, Gergely Szakacs in Budapest, Michele Kambas in Athens and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; writing by Philippa Fletcher; editing by Robin Pomeroy)Robert-Jan Bartunek

Read Full Story

People are Reading