3,000 migrants a day set to enter Macedonia

Up to 3,000 migrants are expected to cross into Macedonia every day in the coming months, most of them refugees fleeing war, particularly from Syria, the UN has said.

EU member states must share the burden by establishing “equitable redistribution” of desperate families seeking asylum, the UN refugee agency said.

Nearly 300,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year, including almost 181,500 in Greece and 108,500 in Italy, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Some 10,000 refugees and migrants crossed into Macedonia from Greece amid chaotic scenes last weekend, it said.

About 30% are women and children.

“They are coming in large groups of 300 to 400 people and then travelling onwards by train or bus to Serbia. We are anticipating that this influx and this route is going to continue at the rate of up to 3,000 people per day,” said UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming.

“We do not see any end to the flow of people to come in the coming months, where there’s good weather and people can continue to cross the Mediterranean.”

In 2014, boats set out from Libya and Turkey through November. At least 2,373 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year, nearly 300 more than the same period last year.

Ongoing violence in Iraq and Syria and “worsening conditions” for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon are driving people to seek asylum in Europe, Fleming said.

“Even news that a fence is being built in Hungary, anecdotally many refugees are saying actually we are rushing to Europe now because we want to get there before the fence,” she said.

Germany and Sweden have been taking 43% of the asylum seekers in the EU, Fleming said.

“If you look proportionately to population, smaller countries such as Austria are taking huge number of asylum seekers where other countries are taking very few.”


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