Rome, Jan 27, 2017: A total of 3,829 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea this year till January 25, just over an eighth of those who arrived in the same period of 2016, the International Organisation for Migration said on Friday.
More than two-thirds of arrivals in 2017 were in Italy and the rest in Greece, IOM said.
The number of boat migrants and refugees who reached Europe in the first 25 days of January last year was 48,029, IOM said.
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Despite the massive drop in arrivals this year, 246 people are estimated to have died on the sea crossing compared with 210 over the same period of 2016, IOM estimates.
Of these fatalities, 221 deaths occurred on the Central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy, a dramatic increase from 20 deaths in the same period of 2016, while 25 people perished on the route to Spain, compared with five last year, IOM said.
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Just one death was reported as of 25 January on the so-called Eastern route between Turkey and Greece against 185 deaths in the same period of 2016, IOM stated.
“This 2017 fatalities figure represents almost a reverse of the pattern of casualties from a year ago, ” IOM said. (IANS)
A new report by the World Health Organization disputes a belief that refugees and migrants bring exotic communicable diseases into the European region.
The report is based on evidence from more than 13,000 documents. It provides a snapshot of the health of refugees and migrants who comprise about 10 percent of the nearly 1 billion population in 53 European countries.
The survey finds migrants and refugees are generally in good health, but, due to poor living conditions, they risk falling ill while in transit or while staying in receiving countries. The report says contrary to common perception, the risk of refugees and migrants transmitting communicable diseases to their host population is very low.
The WHO regional director for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab, tells VOA displacement itself makes refugees and migrants more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
“The refugees and migrants who come to Europe, they do not bring any exotic diseases with them, any exotic communicable diseases,” said Jakab. “The diseases that they might have, they are all well-established diseases in Europe. And also, we have very good prevention and control programs for these diseases. This applies both for tuberculosis, but also HIV-AIDS.”
Europe is the only one among WHO’s six regions where HIV is prevalent and increasing, especially in the east. Jakab says a significant proportion of migrants and refugees who are HIV-positive acquire the infection after they arrive in Europe.
The report finds refugees and migrants seem to have fewer noncommunicable diseases on arrival than their host populations; but, it notes the longer they stay in the countries in conditions of poverty, their risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer increases.
The report says refugees and migrants are more affected by depression and anxiety than host populations. It says unaccompanied minors are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and suffer from higher rates of depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
WHO considers it critically important that European countries provide quality and affordable health care for all refugees and migrants, regardless of their legal status. Providing universal health coverage, it says, would significantly improve the well-being of both the displaced and host populations. (VOA)