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This is the third week of a five-part series on highlighting stories of immigration around the world. Last week, we looked at where some of the refugees are coming from: Syria. This week, we look at the impact it is having on Europe. There have been a spate of stories that have hit the international news in recent weeks, from 71 migrants found dead in a truck in Austria, to numerous stories of death at sea during the dangerous crossing.
The flow of desperate migrants from the Middle East and Africa hoping to reach Europe is already much higher than in the same period in 2014. They are fleeing war, human-rights abuses, terrible poverty, and death. While the influx of refugees is having a very real impact on Europe. With so many, the reception is becoming increasingly less friendly.
Quick Facts on the European Refugee Crisis
Recent trends show that thousands of people are attempting a perilous route through the Western Balkans with the ultimate destination in Germany and other northern EU countries.
How many people are on the move?
More than 300,000 migrants have risked their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year, according to the UN. This compares with 219,000 for the whole of 2014.
Nearly 200,000 people have landed in Greece since January this year, while another 110,000 made it to Italy.
Most of those heading for Greece take the relatively short voyage from the Turkish mainland to the islands of Kos, Chios, Lesvos and Samos - often in flimsy rubber dinghies or small wooden boats.
Fifty thousand people arrived on the shores of the Greek islands in July
The voyage from Libya to Italy is longer and more hazardous.
Some of the worse tragedies in 2015 include:
  • Two boats carrying about 500 migrants sinking after leaving Zuwara in Libya on 27 August
  • Bodies of 71 people, believed to be Syrian migrants, discovered in an abandoned lorry in Austria on 27 August
  • Shipwreck off Italy's Lampedusa island on 19 April took an estimated 800 lives
  • At least 300 migrants feared to have drowned after attempting to cross the Mediterranean in rough seas in early February
Survivors often report violence and abuse by people traffickers. Many migrants pay thousands of dollars each to the traffickers, and robbery of migrants is also common. Chaos in Libya has given traffickers freedom to exploit migrants.
Where do they come from?
The largest migrant group by nationality in 2015 is Syrians, as people flee the country's brutal civil war.

Afghans and Eritreans come next. They are often also fleeing poverty and human rights abuses.
People from Nigeria and Kosovo also make up large groups.
In Italy new migrants from Eritrea form the biggest group, followed by those from Nigeria.
But in Greece migrants from Syria are the biggest group, then Afghans.
Where are they going next?
Germany, which receives by far the most asylum applications in the EU, is expecting 800,000 refugees to arrive this year.
Recent trends show that thousands of people are trying to travel to both Germany and other EU countries via Greece and the Western Balkans.

Some 3,000 people are expected to cross into Macedonia each day in the coming months, according to the UN.
Many then cross into Serbia, which says it has seen 90,000 migrants so far this year, and head for Hungary and the EU's passport-free Schengen zone.
In July alone, 34,000 migrants were detected trying to cross from Serbia into Hungary.
Reception upon arrival
With the number of migrants increasing, Europe is getting concerned. Italy and Greece, the main recipients of the sea-based migrants, are already facing economic difficulties, and Germany and Sweden are struggling with how to cope with processing their applications and assimilating them into European life. The debate tends to revolve around two questions:
  • Who should pay for the refugees flooding in?
  • Is there a way to reduce the numbers?
In Germany, attacks on accommodation for asylum seekers have increased significantly. According to the interior ministry, this year there have already been 173 attacks (175 were registered in the whole of last year ).
On Monday night, more than 2,000 people marched through Dresden in support of Pegida, a movement against what it calls the "Islamisation of the West", which attracts the far right as well as people who simply oppose immigration or fear its effects. And, nearby, in the town of Freital, several hundred people held anti-refugee protests outside accommodation for asylum seekers.
The attacks and protests horrify most Germans. Many believe it is the duty of a rich country to help refugees. Others view immigration as a potential solution to the country's ageing demographic and a shortage of skilled labor. Above all, in a country where the past still stains the present, any manifestation of racist sentiment evokes profound concern.
Sources for this article
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