Nearly seven million migrants are ‘waiting to cross into Europe’: Leaked report warns of new crisis but Brussels insists the situation is under control
Millions of asylum seekers are waiting to cross into Europe, leaked report says
Confidential report says there 2.5million waiting in war-torn North Africa
Surge has led to 1,200 deaths so far this year as gangs use ruthless tactics
More than six million asylum seekers are waiting to cross into Europe, a leaked intelligence report warns.
There has been a huge increase in the number of migrants hoping to reach EU countries, it says – contradicting claims from Brussels that the situation is under control.
The confidential report, leaked to German newspaper Bild, claims 6.6million migrants are waiting in countries around the Mediterranean sea to cross into Europe, including 2.5million in war-torn North Africa.
This year has already seen record numbers of African migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, with Italy the frontline of the crisis.
The surge has led to more than 1,200 deaths so far this year as smuggling gangs, largely operating in lawless Libya, resort to increasingly ruthless tactics. Charities have warned there could be even higher numbers making the crossing in the coming months.
The report, which is yet to be verified, warns the number waiting to cross into Europe has risen by 650,000 since the end of January alone – an increase of 12 per cent.
One million are living in Libya, it says, while around 3.3million of the total are currently in Turkey.
That figure has previously been disclosed by authorities. Of these, nearly 3 million are Syrians, including more than 1.3 million children, while the other 310,000 are mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, according to UNICEF.
The number of those waiting in Turkey has remained relatively stable for 18 months but continues to put a strain on the country.