Rome, March 7 (IANS) Over 15,000 migrants and refugees arrived to Italy since the beginning of 2017, marking a new record high in the migration inflows from Africa, Italian authorities said on Monday.
More specifically, some 15,844 people were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea and brought to the country between January 1 and March 6, Xinhua news agency cited the Interior Ministry's Immigration Department.
The figure marked a 74 per cent increase and a 73.79 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Some 2,315 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy on Saturday and Sunday, after being rescued in various maritime operations coordinated by the national coast guard.
Another peak had been registered between February 24 and 26, data showed.
The number of unaccompanied minor migrants also remained very high: some 1,670 lone children were registered among the new arrivals up to February 27.
Some 25,846 minors reached Italy without any parent or relative in 2016 overall, more than double against 12,360 registered in the previous year.
Italy's whole reception system currently hosts 174, 606 migrants and refugees, the ministry said.