How many Eritrean citizens will apply for asylum in Europe for the first time in the first quarter of 2016? (update)

TASS reports that according to Welt am Sonntag (i.e., the Sunday edition of Die Welt):

Some 200,000 refugees now are staying along shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Libya, the newspaper writes. Most of them come from Eritrea, Somali [sic] and Nigeria. They are waiting for better weather conditions to cross the sea on the way to the European Union.”[1]

This report is consistent with the idea, already discussed here, that there is a strong seasonal component to Eritrean refugee emigration to Europe caused by bad weather in Q1.

Now, I don’t put much stock in the pronouncements of TASS (Cold War habits die hard), and predictably TASS overdoes it here. Welt am Sonntag actually reports more modestly that the number of refugees could be as low as 150000[2]. Though it is unlikely to have much of an effect on this question, Welt am Sonntag does offer some reason to believe that the number of seaborne refugees will increase disproportionally because of the new legal barriers to land routes. By the way, Google’s translation of Welt am Sonntag is only intermittently helpful and include cringe inducing headlines such as “Jew Law visited the ‘Jungle’ in Calais.” Not exactly clickbait.

[1] http://tass.ru/en/world/858268

[2] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article152460616/200-000-Fluechtlinge-warten-auf-Ueberfahrt-nach-Europa.html

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