Numbers of Refugee and Migrants to Greece Hits Record High

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A Frontex helicopter patrols over a Syrian child that has just arrived at a beach at the Greek island of Lesbos August 10. Thousands of refugees and migrants are stranded on Greek islands -- in some cases for over two weeks -- waiting for temporary documents before continuing their travel to northern Europe. The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Greece to take control of the "total chaos" on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed. About 124,000 have arrived this year by sea, many via Turkey, according to Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe. Antonis Pasvantis/Reuters

The influx of refugees and migrants into Greece has hit a record high, according to the International Organization for Migrantion, which determined about 48,000 people traveled from Turkey to Greece in the last five days, more than any other week in 2015.

  • October 17: 9,113 people
  • October 18: 9,237 people
  • October 19: 8,617 people
  • October 20: 10,994 people
  • October 21: 10,024 people

The island of Lesbos has taken in 27,276 people, more than the other Greek isles. During the summer, Chios received about 300 people a day. This week, a total 9,750 migrants and refugees arrived, almost 2,000 a day. Local authorities are unprepared for the influx, according to IOM.

The increase in migration has also brought an increase in fatalities. Most of those traveling between Turkey and Greece do so by boat, and often the vessels are overloaded and those on board do not have life vests. IOM believes 19 people died at sea in the October 19-23 period. One wreck killed 14 people off the coast of Samos.

Italy is still receiving thousands of migrants and refugees as well. Since the beginning of the year, IOM estimates 139,518 people have arrived in Italy and 2,811 have died while en route.