Over 1,000 migrants died on Mediterranean routes in 2019, says IOM

At least 1,041 migrants and refugees died on the three main Mediterranean Sea migration routes between 1 January and 3 October 2019, according to a report on 4 October by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The number of deaths during the same period in 2018 was 1,890.

According to the data collected by the UN agency, 660 deaths were recorded on the Central Mediterranean route, 315 on the Western route, and 66 on the Eastern Mediterranean route.

Since 2014, every year more than 1,000 deaths in the Mediterranean sea are recorded, with a total of over 18,960 deaths over the last six years.

“Behind the arrival data there are always men, women and children who lead extremely difficult lives, having faced dramatic and painful experiences,” said Laurence Hart, Director of IOM’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. 

The Mediterranean Sea continues to be one of the most deadly migration routes. In July, 150 irregular migrants died or went missing while trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The UN described the incident as “the worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year.” 

The IOM report also noted that 72,263 migrants and refugees had crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe during 1 January to 2 October 2019. This is a 14 percent decrease from the same period in 2018. 

Greece and Spain receive about 78 per cent of the regional total of migrant arrivals, with 39,155 and 17,405 this year respectively. Malta, Cyprus and Italy receive fewer migrant arrivals. 

There have been bilateral efforts between Italy and Libya to discourage Mediterranean crossings. The Libyan coastguard, with Italian support, patrols the country’s ports and territorial waters, arresting irregular migrants they find en route to Europe and sending them to detention centres.

TMP 16/10/2019

Photo credit: By Nicolas Economou

Photo caption: Lesvos island, Greece – 29 October 2015. Syrian migrants / refugees arrive from Turkey on boat through sea with cold water near Molyvos, Lesbos on an overload dinghy. Leaving Syria that has war – Image