10,000 migrants arrive in Italy despite bad weather

9,923 migrants, the majority of whom were Syrian, arrived in Italy last November, despite 'many days of bad weather' 

Italy reported the arrival of 9,923 migrants by sea throughout November, the first month since it closed down of its search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum.

“There were many days of bad weather,” said International Organisation for Migration Italy Chief of Mission Federico Soda, who noted however that migrant smugglers continue to find passengers seeking safety in Europe despite ever-rougher sea conditions.

This means that Italy has now rescued 163,368 migrants at sea this year.

Around a third of the migrants arriving in Italy were Syrians, while only 300 were Eritreans. For the year, Syrians are also the most numerous contingent, with just under 40,000 arrivals since January 1, followed by Eritreans, with just over 34,000. 2014 arrivals from Mali, Nigeria, Gambia, Palestine and Bangladesh have all more than doubled from 2013.

“We have noticed that lately Syrians are mostly arriving on boats leaving from Turkey, while arrivals from Libya are mainly composed by Sub-Saharans,” Soda said. “At this stage we cannot say if this could be a new trend, but we will investigate this.”

The IOM said that their staff has found, for the first time among the migrants, refugees fleeing the Syrian border-town of Kobane that has recently been besieged by Islamic State militants.

Soda said that smugglers have raised their prices for Syrian migrants, although large groups could enjoy a discount.

“Prices from Turkey change, depending on the size of the boat,” he said. “If the migrants number more than 500, the price is $4,500 each. If it’s less than 500, then it may climb to $6,000 per passenger.”

Over 3,500 migrants have died along sea routes from Africa in 2014, most of those in the Mediterranean. The IOM noted that it is around six times as many deaths as last year’s total.