Mediterranean: Nearly 9,000 Migrants Rescued in One Weekend, as Total Deaths Reach 900 in 2017

Posted: 
04/18/17
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants

Switzerland - Over the three days between Friday 14 to Sunday 16 April, a total of 8,360 migrants were rescued in the Mediterranean by the Italian Coast Guard, the many Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) rescue ships, Frontex, EunavforMEd and commercial ships.

The migrants were travelling on 55 rubber dinghies, each carrying between 110 and 150 people, and three big wooden boats, carrying 200, 250 and 500 people respectively. Those rescued were brought to various locations in Italy including: Catania, Messina, Augusta, Pozzallo, Palermo, Porto Empedocle, Lampedusa (Sicily), Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia (Calabria) and Cagliari (Sardinia).

A total of approximately 32,800 migrants have been brought to land since the beginning of 2017. The total number of arrivals is predicted to reach about 36,000 in the next two days.

So far this year, at least 900 migrants have died or have gone missing while attempting to cross the Mediterranean according to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project.

Improving weather appears to have motivated smugglers to put as many migrants to sea as possible. The overwhelming majority of the rescues occurred off Libya’s coastline, as migrants are sent to sea in overcrowded dinghies, easily overwhelmed by waves.

Almost 90 per-cent of the 900 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean have been recorded on the Libya-to-Italy route. In one incident on 13 April, 23 people were rescued and 97 are estimated to have gone missing (77 men, 15 women, and 5 children from Africa) off the coast of Gargaresh, near Tripoli, Libya. In another incident off the coast of Qarabulli, Libya, on the night of 14 April, 101 migrants were rescued, and 5 migrants died.

Thirteen other bodies were recovered by NGO rescue operations, including the ships of MOAS, Sea Eye, and Jugend Rettet. Between 1 January and 18 April last year, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) recorded 1,263 migrant deaths and disappearances in the Mediterranean. The higher number of deaths at this point in 2016 is largely due to deaths on the Eastern Mediterranean route, in which 376 deaths were recorded between January and 18 April 2016, compared to only 14 so far this year.

By route, the total of missing/dead migrants recorded by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project are:

1 January – 18 April

2017

2016

Western Mediterranean

50

34

Central Mediterranean

849

853

Eastern Mediterranean

14

376

Total

913

1,263

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project reports that there 1,421 fatalities through 18 April (see chart, below), with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over half of the global total. This is just under 1,000 fewer fatalities than were reported at the same point in 2016. However, these data do not account for full reporting from North Africa and the Horn of Africa, two migration corridors where data collection tends to be slower than in other regions.

 

2017

2016

Mediterranean

913

1,263

Europe

15

19

Middle East

13

42

North Africa

198

589

Horn of Africa*

65

91

Sub-Saharan Africa

12

24

Southeast Asia

44

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

73

67

Central America

20

35

Caribbean

81

39

South America

0

10

Total

1,421

2,214

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 Yemen, Saba Malme, Sana’a, Tel. + 967 736 800 329 (mobile), Email: smalme@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
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey; Tel: + Direct: +90 (0)312 454 3048| Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: adwommoh@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 Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int
IOM Niger: Alberto Preato, MRRM Programme Manager, Tel: +227 8053 5933, E-mail: apreato@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, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) rescues migrants in the Mediterranean. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi / MOAS 2017
The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) rescues migrants in the Mediterranean. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi / MOAS 2017