IOM Counts Latest Mediterranean Arrivals in 2016

Europe and Central Asia / Greece
Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants

Greece - One week into the New Year, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports 46 migrants or refugees have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean, the majority dying in a pair of shipwrecks off the Turkish coast last Tuesday.

That’s already more than half the fatalities reported in all of January last year, and more deaths than were counted in the first three months of 2014.

Emrah Guler of IOM Ankara reported this week that Turkish authorities said they found the bodies of 34 migrants, at least three of them children, at two locations on the Aegean coast on Tuesday after they apparently tried to cross to the Greek island of Lesbos.  The migrants died after their boat or boats capsized in rough seas. It is not known how many vessels were involved or how many people were on board.

Twenty-four of the bodies were discovered on the shoreline in the district of Ayvalık, the Turkish Coast Guard told Reuters. Ten others were found in the district of Dikili, a gendarmerie official there said.

Explaining that the flow of mostly Syrian refugees and migrants braving the seas to seek sanctuary in Europe dipped towards the end of last year coinciding with colder weather, Guler pointed out that the total figure still reached 1 million in 2015, nearly five times more than in the previous year.

Increased policing on Turkey's shores and colder weather conditions have not deterred refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa from embarking on the perilous journey in small, flimsy boats.

The Coast Guard and gendarmerie rescued 12 people from the sea and the rocks on the Ayvalık coastline. A coastguard official said three boats and a helicopter searched for additional survivors during the week.

Namik Kemal Nazlı, the local administrator for Ayvalık, told media that the victims of the incident are believed to be from Iraq, Algeria and Syria. Nazlı also said the search for other migrants would continue and that the death toll could rise further.

The IOM estimates that 3,771 migrants overall died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe last year. The final number for 2015, released on Tuesday, was up from the 3,692 figure the agency released before Christmas.

Learn more and support the Missing Migrants Project at

IOM said last year was the deadliest on record for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, with the number of deaths rising from 3,279 in 2014. IOM said a large majority of the deaths last year occurred on the central Mediterranean route, mainly involving people crossing from Libya – 2,892 or 77 per cent. However, there were 805 deaths in the eastern Mediterranean – accounting for 21 per cent of the total, up from only 1 per cent the previous year – as that route became more popular.

  1 January – 6 January 2016


  1 January – 31 December 2015


 ·       2014 Totals: 34,442 arrived by sea to Greece between 1 January and 31 December 2014.

  • September 2015 Total 147,671
  • October 2015 Total 217,936
  • November 2015 Total 154,118
  •   Arrivals by sea to GREECE JanUARY –  NOVEMBER 2015

Main Countries of Origin












Total: All Countries of Origin


IOM Germany forwarded this week new statistics on asylum applications and arrivals for Germany in the year 2015, as released by the German Ministry of Interior Thursday:
·          Inflows registered in EASY* recorded 1.1 million arrivals of asylum seekers (1,091,894).

Top 5 Countries of Origin 2015:
1.       Syria (428,468)
2.       Afghanistan (154,046)
3.       Iraq (121,662)
4.       Albania (69,426)
5.       Kosovo (33,049)

* The EASY system is an IT application for the initial distribution of asylum seekers among the federal states (Länder). Errors or double counting with EASY cannot be ruled out as at this stage there is no identification procedure or recording of personal data (yet).
 · A total of 476,649 refugees applied for asylum in 2015 (441,899 new initial asylum applications + 34,750 subsequent applications), an increase of 135 per cent over 2014 (202,834 applications).

 · Overall top 10 countries of origin:
Syria (162,510 = 34 per cent of all asylum applications)
Albania (54,762 = 575 per cent increase over 2014)
Kosovo (37,095)
Afghanistan (31,902), Iraq (31,379)
Serbia (26,945)
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (14,131)
Eritrea (10,990)
Pakistan (8,472).

Western Balkan states (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, the FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia) made up 30 per cent of all asylum applications in Germany in 2015, however, their share decreased over the course of the year to just 8 per cent by December 2015.

 · Out of the 282,726 asylum decisions made by the Federal Office in 2015, 137,136 (48.5 per cent) were granted the status of refugee (Geneva Convention). 1,707 people (0.6 per cent) were granted subsidiary protection. In 2,072 cases (0.7 per cent) the Federal Office determined prohibitions of deportation. 91,514 applications (32.4 per cent) were rejected. 50,297 asylum procedures (17.8 per cent) were concluded otherwise, e.g., because of the Dublin procedure or withdrawals of the applications.

 · Backlog of cases not yet decided has increased to 364,664.

For more information, including detailed figures and tables showing the influx over all months, shares of countries of origin, who exactly received the status of refugee, etc. please go to the sources given below.

Press release Federal Ministry of the Interior:;jsessionid=EB9772D71ECF4BC1CFD96001997C9888.2_cid373
Press release Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF):

For the latest updates on arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean please visit:

For further information please contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, 
Email: Or Emrah Guler at IOM Turkey, Tel: +903124541138, Email: Or Sabine Schneider, IOM Berlin, Tel:  +49230 278 778 17, Email:

Italian Coast Guard rescues migrants and refugees bound for Italy (File photo). © IOM/Francesco Malavolta 2014
Italian Coast Guard rescues migrants and refugees bound for Italy (File photo). © IOM/Francesco Malavolta 2014