Fewer refugees land in Europe in November due weather, smuggling crackdown – UN
Syrian refugee children play near their families residence at Al Zaatari refugee camp, in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria - REUTERS

GENEVA:  An estimated 140,000 refugees and migrants reached Europe by sea in November, a big drop from October, although the numbers crossing remain very high, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.

“The monthly figure for November is the first one this year that actually shows a decrease compared to the previous one,” William Spindler of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told a news briefing.

“The reasons for the slowdown in the number of arrivals have to do with fluctuation in climate conditions in the Aegean but also a crackdown on smuggling by Turkish authorities.”

More than 880,000 people seeking asylum have reached European shores this year, about four times the total in 2014, he said.

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