Number of migrant arrivals in Europe drops by 95% in 2017

The number of refugees arriving in Europe has dropped by 95% so far in 2017, when compared to the same first 12 days of 2016.

According to IOM, 22,590 migrants arrived in Europe in the first 12 days of January last year, but this year’s number for the corresponding period has fallen to 1,159. For the eastern Mediterranean route, this year has seen a drastic drop from the same period last year. Compared to 22,322 migrants who reached Greece until January 12, only 430 migrants have landed in Greece from Turkey this year.

Although the number of deaths has decreased, the proportion of deaths to survivors has increased to almost ten times, from less than three deaths per thousand to higher than 25 deaths per thousand migrants this year. A total of 64 deaths was reported for the same period last year, while 27 recorded deaths have been reported for 2017 so far.

Even though the numbers are still very high, 2016 saw the lowest number of Mediterranean arrivals from Eritrea and elsewhere in three years. With the closing of the eastern Mediterranean route early last year, the number of migrant arrivals has dropped by more than two-thirds, while the number of deaths increased by a third.

Nigeria and Eritrea were the top contributing countries of origin for migrants in 2016. Of the 181,436 migrants arriving in Italy in 2016, the largest number came from Nigeria holding about 20% of all arrivals from Africa at 37,551.

Eritreans were the second largest group at 20,718, including the largest group of unaccompanied minors reaching 3,832, the highest from any country of origin. In 2014, at least 34,329 Eritreans arrived in Italy. In 2015, Eritrea was the top country of origin for Mediterranean arrivals in Europe, when almost 40,000 of its migrants arrived in Italy. Almost 95,000 Eritrean arrivals have been recorded in Italy in the last three years.

In 2016, the number of Syrian migrants risking their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean saw a 97% decrease from previous years. From a high of 42,323 in 2014, Syrian arrivals in Italy fell to 7,448 in 2015 and just 1,200 in 2016, IOM reports.

Many European countries have seen a sharp drop in the arrival of refugees in 2016. The decrease from 900,000 arrivals the year before to 280,000 in 2016 shows that efforts to control migration, especially the closing of the Balkan route in spring of last year, have been successful.