EUROPE’S borders crisis showed no signs of easing up as figures revealed that the number of migrants arriving daily by boat has trebled in just one year.
Only a fortnight into 2016, almost 25,000 refugees have reached the EU at a rate of over 1,700 every day.
The rate is three times the 570 who reached Italy or Greece by boat every day last January.
The first sailings of 2016 also brought the first deaths.
At least 59 men, women and children have tragically lost their lives – nine trying to reach Italy from Libya and the other 50 after their boats capsized in the Agean Sea.
Experts fear that the huge number of New Year arrivals means the total number coming to Europe in search of a better life in 2016 will far outstrip the 1.1million who arrived last year.
The International Organisation for Migration data will heighten fears that migration is spiralling out of control across Europe’s borders.
Kelly Namia of the IoM said more than 23,000 migrants – mainly Syrians – reached Greece in the first two weeks of this year.
The figure dwarfs the 3,000 documented by Greek police in the whole of January 2015.
Ms Namia added: “The arrivals continue to be on a high level. It is difficult to predict what will happen as the situation changes every day but from what we have seen this month it seems that the numbers will be higher in 2016 than in 2015.”
Steven Woolfe, UKIP’s migration spokesman said: “What a disastrous start to the year for the EU’s much heralded new border control strategy.
“After Chancellor Merkel’s open door asylum policy and the EU’s £2bn bribe to Turkey to get them to fulfil their international obligations to refugees, the stream of migrants landing in Europe is rising inexorably.
“Across the capitals of Europe policymakers will be quaking in their boots in the face of these numbers.
The rest arrived on Greece’s Agean islands, mainly Lesbos, after making the short but perilous sea journey from the Turkish coast.
The figures do not include around 450 additional migrants who were rescued at sea yesterday and were due to be brought to Italy.
Some 300,000 of them have been given asylum so far.
Many thousands more have headed to Calais, Dunkirk and other French ports where they are now living in squatter camps hoping for a chance to stowaway to the UK.
The notorious shanty town close to the Calais ferry port and Channel Tunnel now has an estimated 6,000 inhabitants.
Truckers, commuters and holiday makers passing through the area run the gauntlet of rampaging migrants attempting to break into their vehicles in a bid to reach Britain.
The situation has become so dangerous French authorities have sent in a crack unit of armed riot police to calm the situation and protect the Eurostar train services.
Charter flights bringing Syrian refugees to the UK have been arriving since last November as part of David Cameron’s pledge to accept 20,000 by 2020.