Refugee and Migrant Numbers Top One Million in Europe, Says IOM

The number of refugees and migrants, who entered Europe in 2015, surpassed one million on Monday, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM)—just days before the end of a year that has seen record-breaking numbers of people fleeing war, persecution and human-rights abuses in the Middle East and Africa.

By Monday, 1,005,504 refugees and migrants entered Europe by sea in six European Union countries—Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain—in 2015. The IOM said that most entered via Greece, with 812,752 people arriving this year. Around half of all refugees who entered Europe this year are from Syria, where a five-year war has injured and killed tens of thousands of people and displaced million from their homes.

The figure of over one-million refugees and migrants arriving in Europe this year is a four-fold increase on 2014, according to the IOM. Europe's refugee crisis is the worst since the end of World War II, 70 years ago.

The news comes days after the United Nations (U.N.) said the number of forcibly displaced people around the world is likely to top 60 million by the end of the year. Global refugees numbers have exceeded 20 million this year, for the first time since 1992, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR).

Not all those who attempted the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing—often in flimsy, overpacked boats—made it to Europe. More than 3,600 people died while trying to reach Europe by boat this year, says UNHCR. Most of the deaths occurred in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and North Africa, while around 700 people perished in the Aegean Sea, trying to reach Greece from Turkey.