UNICEF: Share Rises of Women, Children in Migration Flow to EuropeWorld | February 3, 2016, Wednesday // 16:46| views
Migrants and refugees disembark a coastguard boat in Mytilini, Lesvos Island, Greece, 02 February 2016. Photo EPA/BGNES
There are more children and women than adult males travelling along the so-called Balkan Route at present - for the first time since the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe started last year, UNICEF has said.
Children and women now make up nearly 60% of refugees and migrants crossing the border from Greece into Macedonia, UNICEF reported in a news note on Monday.
Male refugees and migrants accounted for 73% of the migration flow in June 2015
Presently, 36% of those who put their lives at risk during the perilous crossing of the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey are children but the percentage could be higher because many children don’t do not declare their age until they have reached their destination, according to UNICEF. By comparison, accompanied children accounted for 10% of all people on the move in June 2015.
“The implications of this surge in the proportion of children and women on the move are enormous – it means more are at risk at sea, especially now in the winter, and more need protection on land,” UNICEF’s Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe, Marie Pierre Poirier, commented.
“Welfare, protection and health systems need to be strengthened at every step of the way so children and women are not exploited or fall between cracks.”
More than 370 migrants and refugees died in the Mediterranean last month, the International organization for Migration has said.
Through January, 62,193 migrants and refugees have entered Europe through Greece, IOM said. According to the Greek authorities, 91% of them came from three countries: Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.