"Last chance" for EU to fix refugee crisis, says UNCHR

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A UNHCR staff member distributes blankets to people waiting to cross the Greek-FYR Macedonian border. © UNHCR/Aikaterini Kitidi

As European Union leaders meet to discuss emergency proposals to take in 120,000 asylum seekers, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, warned on Tuesday that it may be the "last opportunity" to resolve the crisis.

More than 6,000 people arrive on Europe's shores every day, according to UNHCR, principally from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, UN Children's Agency UNICEF reported an 80 per cent rise in the number of children seeking asylum in Europe so far this year, compared with 2014.

Daniel Johnson has more.

The UN Refugee Agency's Melissa Fleming called on EU decision-makers to agree to the relocation plan now, as thousands of asylum-seekers continue to arrive on Europe's shores every day.

She insisted that a European Union-wide decision needs to be taken fast because the situation is "increasingly chaotic".

It's seen countries changing their policies on refugees on "a day-to-day basis", Melissa Fleming said.

"Basically, we are urging them to unite behind emergency proposals to manage the refugee and migration crisis that is becoming increasingly chaotic and increasingly unpredictable. We believe this may be the last opportunity for a coherent European response to manage a crisis that is increasing the suffering and exploitation of refugees and migrants and also increasing the tension between countries."

Latest UN figures show that refugees and migrants are arriving in Europe at a rate of 6,000 a day; so far this year, the total figure is almost 480,000.

Of that number, UN Children's Agency UNICEF said that a quarter are youngsters, some of whom have arrived this week in Croatia with viral infections, along with "blisters, cuts and sores".

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'18"

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