Migrant Arrivals Spike on Southern Crete

migrants

Dozens more migrants have reached a small island south of Crete, highlighting a surge in arrivals and a potential shift in smuggling routes.

Greek authorities reported on Wednesday that a boat carrying 91 migrants landed on Gavdos island, a summer destination with a limited year-round population. The migrants, believed to be from eastern Libya, will be transferred to reception areas on Crete.

This incident marks the latest in a string of arrivals on Gavdos and Crete's southern coastline. Over the past month, roughly a dozen boats carrying over 600 people have reached the area, often departing from Tobruk, Libya. The Greek coast guard suspects smuggling gangs are facilitating these journeys, with migrants reportedly paying up to $5,000 each.

The influx poses a challenge for Gavdos, a small island with limited resources. Local authorities have requested additional government funding to handle the immediate needs of arriving migrants before they are transported to Crete.

Greece has historically been a major entry point for migrants seeking entry into the European Union. Traditionally, the eastern Aegean islands near Turkey saw the highest numbers of arrivals. However, increased patrols in the area have seemingly forced smugglers to explore alternative routes, including the route from Libya to southern Crete and from Turkey to Italy via the southern Greek mainland.

This incident underscores the ongoing challenges of migration in the Mediterranean, with smuggling gangs adapting their tactics and Greece facing pressure to manage arrivals across multiple entry points.

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