“This is a continental transfer”
When the migrant crisis in Europe first broke into the American media, many analysts compared it to the outpouring of refugees following other high-profile (and particularly violent) conflicts in places like Vietnam and the former Yugoslavia. They struggled to find a benchmark; but as the migrants continued to come, the numbers defied comparison, and now those monitoring the situation believe that the thousands who have already managed to gain passage into Europe represent “the tip of the iceberg” of what’s to come.
It’s not an overblown prediction. What’s happening right now in Europe far surpasses past migrations:
So much for comparisons to previous population surges. This is continental transfer. pic.twitter.com/sskMm8JOUA
— Diana West (@diana_west_) September 16, 2015
More from the New York Times:
“I don’t see it stopping,” Amin Awad, director of the Middle East and North Africa division of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters in Geneva. If anything, he said, the thousands of refugees arriving daily at the borders of European countries may be “the tip of the iceberg.”
The warnings came as the impact of the European Union’s decision on Tuesday to apportion 120,000 migrants among member countries — in some cases, against their leaders’ wishes — continued to ripple across the Continent.
Up to 10,000 migrants have been entering Austria daily, mostly from Hungary; 134,000 made the crossing from Sept. 5 to 23, Austrian officials said Friday. While many of the migrants have continued on, to destinations like Germany and Sweden, 500 to 700 people each day have filed papers to stay in Austria, officials said.
After Hungary fenced off its border with Serbia last week, migrants turned to Croatia, entering Hungary through a different route — with the grudging acceptance of the Hungarian authorities — and then heading to Austria. Hungary on Friday continued to seal its border with Croatia, which like Serbia is not part of the passport-free Schengen travel zone that has been a cornerstone of European unity.
Austria’s left-leaning chancellor, Werner Faymann, and Hungary’s conservative prime minister, Viktor Orban, met in Vienna on Friday to discuss the situation. While they have divergent political stances, they agreed on the need for cooperation to manage the westward flow of immigrants.
The situation in Croatia in particular has descended into chaos—mostly due to the border closure mentioned above—and has caused tensions with Serbia. Croatian officials accused Serbian leaders of funneling migrants away from their borders, leaving the tiny, poor country to deal with hordes of people demanding food, shelter, and safe passage into the passport-free Schengen travel zone. Although those tensions somewhat relaxed following a relaxation of border policies, the small nations in southeastern Europe are still struggling to gain ground.
Other “transit countries,” such as Greece, Turkey, and Hungary, are also seeing no end to the strain—and the ensuing humanitarian crisis:
Seventeen migrants attempting to reach Greece by boat from Turkey have drowned after their boat sank off Turkey.
The victims, all thought to be Syrians, included five women and five children, local media said.
Another 20 people on the boat’s deck, who were wearing life jackets, survived, the news agency said.
Some 300,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece so far this year, most of them moving on to try to reach other EU countries.
Those arriving in Greece have mostly set off from Turkey’s Aegean coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
Those who drowned on Sunday were trapped in the boat’s cabin as it sank, Turkey’s Dogan news agency reported.
The boat is thought to have set out from the village of Gumusluk near the Turkish resort town of Bodrum, where three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi died earlier this month.
Separately, 500 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean so far this weekend in seven operations involving the Italian coastguard and navy and a ship belonging to the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.
A spokesman for the coastguard told the AFP news agency on Sunday that three of the seven operations were ongoing.
The rescued migrants are thought to be largely from Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Sierra Leone and left Libya three days earlier. They were rescued about 80km (50 miles) off the Libyan coast.
Hungarian police said on Sunday that 9,472 migrants had arrived in the country on Saturday, overwhelmingly crossing from Croatia. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said that his government plans to seal its border with Croatia, in the same way that it has sealed the border with Serbia.
Oddly enough, Finland’s interaction with its unhappy migrants dominated headlines this weekend. Many of those seeking asylum there have canceled their asylum applications and turned back, saying they don’t want to setting somewhere so cold and…boring?
Laugh, or cry?DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.