The European Union border agency Frontex says the number of people trying to enter Europe from Turkey without authorization rose sharply last month.
Frontex released new statistics Wednesday showing that more than 11,500 attempts to enter the EU via the eastern Mediterranean Sea were recorded in September, up 16% from the month of August.
It says most attempts were made by Afghans, and that two-thirds of all people trying to enter the EU in September came in via the east.
Greece’s eastern islands are struggling to cope with a surge in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers that has undermined efforts to ease severe overcrowding at refugee camps.
Frontex says it detected almost 50,600 border crossing attempts in the eastern Mediterranean in the first nine months of this year, up 22% from last year.
The Italian coast guard says it has located the bodies of 12 people, including an infant, who drowned in a shipwreck last week off the southernmost Italian island of Lampedusa.
Authorities were beginning the recovery of the bodies from near a sunken wooden boat on Wednesday.
The discovery, using a remotely operated vehicle, brings to at least 25 the number of people who died Oct. 7 when the overloaded boat capsized as an Italian vessel approached to begin rescue. Twenty-two people who were catapulted into the sea survived, and as many as five remain missing.
The smugglers’ boat had departed Tunisia, with about 50 people on board, mostly West Africans and Tunisians.
Also Wednesday, the coast guard said that 180 migrants rescued a day earlier 35 nautical miles off Lampedusa were brought to the Sicilian island.
Authorities in northwestern Bosnia have rounded up hundreds of migrants and moved them to a refugee center while warning of a looming crisis ahead of upcoming winter.
A video published by local media on Wednesday shows police escorting the migrants in a long column from the town of Bihac toward the Vucjak camp, near the border with Croatia.
The Bihac authorities have faced criticism over the conditions in the tent camp, located on a former landfill and close to a mine-infested area from the 1992-95 war.
The mayor of Bihac, Suhret Fazlic, has warned this week that the city can no longer cope with thousands of people staying there in hopes of moving toward Western Europe. He has threatened to cut migrant aid to draw attention to the problem.‘Real’ or ‘Fake’ migrant: Who threats the EU and provokes social strikes?