SULAIMANI (ESTA) — More than 633,000 people from the Kurdistan Region have immigrated to European countries in the past seven years, a refugee watchdog said on Tuesday.
Lutka Foundation for Refugees and Displaced Affairs released statistics of immigration of people from Kurdistan to the European countries.
As many as 633,273 people have left the Kurdistan Region to the European countries since 2015, according to the watchdog’s statistics.
The organization said 261 people have died and 185 others have gone missing in the last seven years.
Residents in Kurdistan leave the Region due to corruption and an ongoing economic crisis which has seen authorities unable to pay public sector wages.
Hundreds of people from Kurdistan have opted to be smuggled to EU countries via Belarus this year.
Though Iraq suspended direct flights from Baghdad to Minsk in August under EU pressure, migrants are now flying via Dubai or Turkey.
Several Iraqi and Kurdish migrants have died crossing into Poland from Belarus.
The Kurdistan parliament’s committee of relations and Kurdish diaspora will visit Poland to follow up the situation of Kurdish migrants on the border between Poland and Belarus.
On Monday, hundreds of migrants walked towards the Polish border and some trying to breach fences using spades and other tools.
Footage published by the Polish police on Tuesday showed migrants’ tents and campfires on the Belarus side of the barbed wire fence.
Poland’s Border Guard told Reuters that about 800 people were camped out on the Belarusian side of the fence, part of a group of up to 4,000 migrants there and in nearby forests.
A spokesman for Poland’s special services said estimates showed there could be up to 12,000 migrants in Belarus.