More than 50,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Greece by sea



A total of 59,726 refugees and migrants in 2019 arrived in Greece by sea according to the latest report published by the office of the UN High Commission for Refugees.

According to the UN report, the majority are from Afghanistan (40%), Syria (27%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (7%). More than half of the population are women (23%) and children (36%), while 41% are men.

Arrivals in December 2019, at 6,163 decreased in comparison to November when 8,426 people had arrived on the islands. Arrivals during 2019 are 84% higher than those in 2018.

Lesvos received the majority (45%) of all new arrivals, during 2019, followed by the Dodecanese islands (23%), Samos (18%) and Chios (14%).


Similar to last year, over one-third of arrivals in 2019 are children. Of those, more than 6 out of 10 are below the age of 12. Additionally, 16% of all children were registered upon arrival as unaccompanied or separated, mainly from Afghanistan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The majority of new arrivals in 2019 are from Afghanistan (23,861), Syria (16,366) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (4,027). Similar to last year, the majority of arrivals from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq arrived in family groups.

Entry points

During 2019, the majority of refugees and migrants in Greece arrived on Lesvos (27,049), the Dodecanese islands (13,899) and Samos (10,705). In December, refugees and migrants arrived on nine islands. Lesvos received the highest number of people from Afghanistan comparing to the overall number of sea arrivals in Greece in 2019, whilst the Dodecanese islands received the majority of people originating from Syria.


GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.