4600 Syrians have flocked to Italy so far this year

Two-thirds arrived in August alone, says UNHCR

13 September, 18:18

    Syrian refugees arrive in Germany [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20130911 ] Syrian refugees arrive in Germany [ARCHIVE MATERIAL 20130911 ]

    (ANSAmed) - Geneva, September 13 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) calculates that more than 4,600 Syrians have arrived in Italy by sea since the beginning of the year. About two-thirds came in August alone, said a UNHCR spokesman in Geneva today.

    ''We have observed a marked increase of Syrians who come to southern Italy by boat. In the last 40 days, 3,300 Syrians have arrived, among whom there were more than 230 unaccompanied children, especially in Sicily but also in Calabria,'' said UNHCR Spokesman Adrian Edwards.

    Last week, about 670 arrived in more than 30 boats, he added. Most embarked from Egypt, but also from Turkey. The refugees were predominantly families with children.

    Several people have needed hospital treatment due to dehydration, Edwards said, noting that last week a nurse from Damascus died during the crossing. Her husband gave permission to transplant her liver and kidneys, aiding three patients in Italy, he said.

    The majority of Syrians reaching Italy, with whom UNHCR staff has spoken, report mainly coming from Damascus and include many Palestinian refugees born in Syria.

    On their arrival, the people are placed in migrant centers.

    From the beginning of the year through September 6, a total of 21,870 people arrived in southern Italy, the UNHCR said.

    The number marks “a significant increase''' compared to 2012 levels, when total arrivals reached 7,981.

    This year, the main groups have been Eritreans (5,778 versus 594 in 2012), Somalis (2,571 versus 1,280 in 2012) and Syrians (3,970 versus 369 in 2012).

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