218, 394 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by sea in October, up from 172, 843 in September, Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, said on Monday.
“That makes it the highest total for any month to date and roughly the same as the entire total for 2014, ” he said. The UNHCR puts 2014 arrivals by sea at about 219, 000.
570, 000 people have arrived in the Greek islands from Turkey, most of them on small rubber dinghies in which smugglers cram 50 or more people at a cost of between 1, 100 and 1, 400 euros each. Refugees have recently reported that smugglers are offering ‘discounts’ of up to 50 per cent to make the voyage aboard the rubber dinghies in bad weather.
According to UNHCR, as the weather steadily worsens, newly arrived refugees report that the smugglers in Turkey are now searching for larger boats such as the one that sank Wednesday that can carry hundreds of people and for which they can charge between 1, 800 and 2, 500 euros per passenger.