The main migrant route to Germany, 25 September 2015. Graphic: UNHCR / BBC News

5 October 2015 (BBC News) – The number of people seeking asylum in Germany this year will be as high as 1.5 million - almost double the previous estimate, German media report.

The German government has not confirmed the new estimate, which comes from an internal official report cited by popular daily Bild.

The report warns that services helping refugees will not be able to cope.

Separately, a centre-right regional minister put the expected total at 1.2-1.5 million for this year.

The German government previously estimated the number of asylum claims this year to reach 800,000 to one million in total.

Many are refugees fleeing the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, but there are also many economic migrants from the Balkans, Asia, and Africa.

Distribution of asylum seekers in Germany. Graphic: Bamf / BBC News

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has warned that Europe, in dealing with the migration crisis, is engaged in a "battle of compassion versus fear, and of tolerance versus xenophobia".

Speaking in Geneva, he said the world was facing the highest levels of forced displacement in recorded history and the principle of asylum must remain sacrosanct.

He urged Europe to defend "its founding values of tolerance and openness by welcoming refugees of all religions".

The leaders of Hungary and Slovakia have said the influx of Muslims is a challenge to Europe's "Christian" identity. [more]

Germany 'facing 1.5 million migrants'



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