EU migrant crisis: More than one million refugees and migrants have reached Europe by sea since the start of 2015

James Nickerson
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Situation In Kos Worsens As Migrants Continue To Arrive
Over 80 per cent of migrants and refugees arrived in Greece (Source: Getty)

More than one million refugees and migrants have reached the shores of Europe by sea since the start of the year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said.

Some 1,000,573 people have made the sea journey to Europe, and close to half of those travelling came from Syria, mostly fleeing war and persecution.

The figure represents a near five-fold increase compared to 2014, when 219,000 asylum seekers arrived by boat.

Read more: One million migrants entered Europe in 2015

"Increasing numbers of refugees and migrants take their chances aboard unseaworthy boats and dinghies in a desperate bid to reach Europe," the UNHCR said on its website.

"The vast majority of those attempting this dangerous crossing are in need of international protection, fleeing war, violence and persecution in their country of origin."

Some 844,176, over 80 per cent, of people arrived in Greece, predominantly on the island of Lesbos.

Read more: Four charts explaining what happened in 2015

The perilous sea journey has claimed 3,735 lives this year alone, due to the nature of the journey and the boats used.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said this is one of the reasons the United Kingdom is taking refugees directly from camps in Syria, in an effort to dissaude people from making the perilous journey.

The migrant crisis is the worst since World War II, and has threatened divisions within Europe this year as countries grapple with how to accept rising numbers of people.

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