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Cypriot Coast Guard, Fishing Boats Save 270 Migrants in Five Boats

NICOSIA – The advent of warmer weather often bringing more refugees and migrants crossing the sea, Cyprus’ Coast Guard and fishing boats had to rescue 270 people on five overcrowded boats off the island’s east coast, the highest in months.

That has put authorities on alert for more, said The Cyprus Times, as Cyprus is becoming a more popular destination, with 2,765 migrants arriving since the beginning of 2024, an average of 30 a day, said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

That’s just for sea arrivals as others cross over from the Turkish-Cypriot occupied northern third of the island that’s a haven for foreign students, many who really want to get there to get onto the Greek-Cypriot side that’s a member of the European Union.

The Coast Guard on March 31 said it first reported there were 120 migrants on two boats but then three more came during the day, one of which alone was carrying 179 people for the perilous journey.

They were taken to reception centers west of the capital Nicosia. Four people who are believed to be smugglers were detained, the newspaper reported. Cyprus has recorded the highest number of asylum applications per year compared to other EU states in terms of population size in recent years, bloc statistics showed.

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