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More than 270 migrants reach Cyprus in one day

Within 24 hours, more than 270 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean and brought ashore in Cyprus. Most of them come from Syria. It's been months since so many people came in one day.

In one day, the Cyprus coast guard and fishing boats rescued more than 270 migrants who were sailing in five overcrowded boats to the island nation's east coast. It was the highest number of migrants in one day in months, the Cyprus Times newspaper reported. The authorities are on alert.

According to statistics from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 2,675 migrants have arrived in Cyprus since the beginning of the year, an average of around 30 people per day. Not all of them come by sea, some also reach the southern part from the Turkish-occupied north of the island via the green buffer zone.

Syrians, coming from Lebanon

According to the coast guard, the 271 people who were brought to safety on Sunday had set off from Lebanon. Most of the men, women and children are said to be Syrians.

The coast guard initially discovered around 120 migrants in two boats off the east coast of the island in the morning. During the day, three more boats arrived – one of which had 179 people on board. The migrants were taken to reception camps west of the capital Nicosia. Four people were arrested, the Cyprus Times reported. They are said to be smugglers.

According to EU statistics, in terms of population size, Cyprus has by far received the most asylum applications per year in recent years compared to other EU countries. The registration and reception centers for migrants on the island are overcrowded. They are also being expanded with EU funds.

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