Europe is in crisis mode.
Inundated by a historic wave of migrants and refugees — some of them implicated in criminal activity — countries across the continent are tightening their borders and imposing policies to limit the flow of new arrivals.
Greece’s defense minister on Tuesday called on Turkey to let foreign authorities into its waters to stop migrants, many of whom have died on the dangerous journey through the Mediterranean Sea.
New data from the International Organization for Migration reveals the depth of the problem: Sometime next month, it expects Greece, home to roughly 11 million people, to receive its millionth migrant since the start of 2015.
Just a few days into February, the 2016 migrant influx already dramatically dwarfs that of early 2015.
The number of migrants estimated to have traversed Mediterranean waters to Europe through Feb. 7 is more than six times larger than the number who traveled that same route by the end of February last year, according to IOM data.
That exponential increase is driven by migrants headed to Greece, which accounted for 33 percent of estimated arrivals from that route during the first two months of 2015. So far this year, Greece accounts for 92 percent of arrivals.
Nearly 2,000 migrants are arriving in Europe daily, roughly 10 times last year's average.
At the same time, the number of migrants who have died in those waters through Feb. 7 — at least 409 — is fast approaching the 428 who died in the first two months of 2015, according to the IOM data.
The number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea increased monthly last year, peaking at nearly 221,000 in October, according to the IOM.
But the current spike is happening at a dangerous time: Winter weather conditions in the region make the trek particularly difficult at this time of year.