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More women and children are trying to reach Europe than adult men for the first time since the refugee crisis began, according to UNICEF.
The United Nation's children's agency warned that children account for 36 percent of the migrants risking the treacherous sea crossing between Greece and Turkey — and that the real figure could be higher.
There has been a “major spike” in the numbers of children and women on the move since June 2015, when men made up 73 percent of the migration flow, according to UNICEF.
It said children and women now make up nearly 60 percent of refugees and migrants crossing the border from Greece to Gevgelijia in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“The implications of this surge in the proportion of children and women on the move are enormous — it means more are at risk at sea, especially now in the winter, and more need protection on land,” Marie Pierre Poirier, UNICEF’s Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe, said in a statement.
“Welfare, protection and health systems need to be strengthened at every step of the way so children and women are not exploited or fall between cracks.”