The number of migrants entering Italy has reached a new record as recent figures from the IOM have shown.
More than 170,000 reached Italian soil on this route in 2014, quadruple the previous year and a record annual figure for any country in EU history.
The flow of migrants has grown from a trickle in 2012 to become the most popular path for illegal immigration into Europe, with the balkans route through the hills of Greece, Macedonia and Serbia in hopes of entering the heart of the 28-nation European Union.
Most of these were people fleeing the war in Syria, while others were escaping conflict in Mali, Niger, Libya, Palestine or Eritrea. According to figures provided by IOM, the Italian Navy's Mare Nostrum operation and the Italian coastguard together managed to save over 120,000 lives last year.
The top asylum-seekers in Italy in 2014 were instead from Mali, with 9,800 requests, followed by Nigeria and Gambia.