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Greece’s Migrant Count Leaps on Technicality

FILE - Syrian refugees wait with their belongings to leave a makeshift camp near the northern Greek village of Idomeni during a police operation at the Greek-Macedonian border, May 26, 2016.

The number of refugees and other migrants trapped in Greece has grown in a day by about 5,000 to 57,458 after officials started counting people in a U.N. housing program.

Most have been stuck in the financially struggling country since a series of Balkan border closures, including earlier this year, stopped migratory flows from Turkey to Europe's prosperous heartland.

Greek immigration officials said Tuesday that they started including in their daily reports 5,700 people in rented accommodation arranged by the U.N. refugee agency for greater accuracy.

The Balkan border controls, and an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to return migrants reaching Greece illegally from the Turkish coast, have radically reduced migrant arrivals in Greece.

More than 1 million people entered the country from Turkey in just over a year before the deal.