The International Organization for Migration says the number of migrants and refugees entering Europe in 2015 has gone over the one million mark, the largest influx of its kind since the end of World War II.
The Geneva-based organization issued figures Tuesday showing 1,005,504 migrants from Africa and the Middle East have crossed into the continent by a combination of irregular land and sea routes, a four-fold increase from 2014.
Refugees from Syria, which has been torn apart by a five-year-old civil war that has left over 200,000 people dead and millions more displaced, account for half of all those counted, followed by refugees from two other war-torn countries, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The refugees have streamed into Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Malta and Cyprus during 2015, with a huge majority — over 800,000 — arriving by sea in Greece. About 3,600 died or disappeared trying to make the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing between North Africa and Italy.
The IOM says fewer than 35,000 migrants, or about three percent, have crossed by land into Greece and Bulgaria from Turkey.