Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,381; Deaths: 272

Posted: 
02/17/17
Region-Country: 
Europe and Central Asia / Switzerland
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants

Switzerland - IOM reports that 12,381 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 15 February – just under 9,500 to Italy, just under 2,000 to Greece, and 1,000 to Spain. This compares with 84,645 arrivals during the first seven weeks of 2016 – 90 percent of whom arrived in Greece.

Today’s numbers show a significant increase in arrivals to Italy compared with the same period last year – 9,448, up from 6,123 – while the traffic to Greece has practically dried up. IOM Athens reports daily average arrivals in Greece of 42 in 2017 - compared with nearly 1,500 during the same period last winter.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 272 deaths at sea on various Mediterranean routes this winter, compared with 417 at this time last year.

It is important to note that 2016’s Mediterranean death toll at this point was mostly on the eastern route. Some 320 people – three quarters of the total – died between Turkey and Greece. This winter, the route has accounted for just two fatalities. 

The central Mediterranean route between Libya to Italy has recorded 232 fatalities through February 15.

Another 38 deaths have been recorded on the western route between North Africa and Spain. Last year only seven people died on this route.

During the whole of 2016, Missing Migrants recorded a total of 70 deaths along this route, which means that 2017’s total already has passed last year’s half-way mark after just seven weeks.

Missing Migrants has reported three incidents since January 30 – including two this week – that have resulted in 14 fatalities along this route.

On 30 January, three migrants were reported missing, while 11 were rescued by Guardia Civil units off Almeria. On 12 February three migrants landed on the Spanish coast at Tarifa, telling authorities two other members of their party drowned when their small craft foundered. Then on Wednesday (15/2), nine migrants were reported lost in the Strait of Gibraltar. Two were rescued in that incident.

No landings have taken place in Italy since Sunday. But Italy’s Ministry of Interior has released data on the top nationalities arriving by sea as irregular migrants through January. (See chart below.)

Of the top ten sender countries, all but two – Iraq and Bangladesh – are from Africa, with all but one of those African countries – Morocco – considered Sub-Saharan. Cote d’Ivoire, with 839 arrivals reported the highest tally, followed by Guinea (796), Nigeria (483), Senegal (431), The Gambia (359) and Mali (282). Morocco (257), Bangladesh (224), Iraq (131) and Cameroon (117) surpassed more traditional senders like Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and the Sudan. Many Eritreans and Ethiopians have been recorded as fatalities this year, so it is somewhat surprising that relatively few people from these countries arrived in Italy this year.

 

Arrivals by sea in Italy - Main Countries of Origin
Total 2017/2016 Comparison
(Source: Italian Ministry of Interior)

Main Countries of Origin

January 2017

January 2016

Cote d’Ivoire

839

332

Guinea

796

504

Nigeria

483

905

Senegal

431

493

The Gambia

359

676

Mali

282

393

Morocco

257

483

Bangladesh

224

N.A.

Iraq

131

N.A.

Cameroon

117

96

Total All Countries of Origin

4,467

5,273

In terms of the number of worldwide migrant deaths, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports that 2017’s total of 435 men, women and children is just over half of 2016’s total through February 16. This appears to be a statistical anomaly that may be due to a lack of data coming from key spots like the Horn of Africa and North Africa’s Sahara Desert, rather than changes in migration patterns.

With nearly 110 migrant deaths reported in the Americas – compared to 78 a year ago at this time – IOM has noted that accurate data collection often is a function of proximity to large population centres, while the deaths themselves occur in remote places and are therefore reported weeks or months after the fact.    

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 Jan - 16 Feb 2016/2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

272

417

Europe

9

10

Middle East

10

27

North Africa

0

179

Horn of Africa

0

49

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

18

Southeast Asia

36

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

38

29

Central America

2

12

Caribbean

68

27

South America

0

10

Total

435

813

 

 

 

For the latest Mediterranean update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170216_Mediterranean_Update.pdf
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int  
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int  
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int 
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600388, Email: mkhalil@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

<none>