Migrant deaths in the Mediterranean exceed 20,000 since 2014

More than 20,000 migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea into Europe have died since 2014.

The death toll, which has been described as a “grim milestone,” increased after a recent shipwreck off the coast of Libya and other maritime fatalities in February 2020, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project shows.

At least 91 people aboard a rubber boat in the north of Garabulli, Libya were reported missing in February. This case is another example of the many ‘ghost boats’ that have disappeared in recent years along with their passengers since 2014.

“Two-thirds of the fatalities we have recorded are people lost at sea without a trace. The fact that we have reached this grim new milestone reinforces IOM’s position that there is an urgent need for increased, comprehensive [search and rescue] capacity in the Mediterranean,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre.

Over 200 migrants went missing or died between January and February 2020 after failed attempts to reach Europe via the Mediterranean sea.

There has been a decline in the number of deaths in the Mediterranean after more than 5,000 migrants lost their lives in 2016. However, more deaths were recorded on the Central and Western Mediterranean routes in 2018 and 2019 than in 2017.

The Mediterranean sea has been a major gateway for thousands of migrants attempting to enter Europe through countries like Libya, Morocco and Turkey since 2014. Humanitarian organisations are calling for better efforts to provide and promote safe, orderly and legal migration, as a way of reducing the tragedy of irregular migration on the Mediterranean.

TMP – 09/03/2020

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Nicolas Economou

Photo Caption: Lesvos island, Greece – 29 October 2015. Syrian migrants/refugees arrive from Turkey on a boat through the sea with cold water near Molyvos, Lesbos on an overload dinghy.