Migrant Arrivals in Europe by Sea Reached 36,556 in First 21 Days of 2016: IOM

Europe and Central Asia / Greece
Humanitarian Emergencies, Missing Migrants

Greece - With more than a week left in the first month of 2016, IOM reports that deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean already make this the deadliest January on record. Deaths in the past 24 hours bring to at least 113 the total number of fatalities recorded, which is more than the past two Januaries combined, when 94 deaths were recorded – 12 in January 2014 and 82 last year.

With nearly 37,000 migrants and refugees now having arrived in Italy and Greece by sea in 2016, that figure is roughly 10 times 2015’s total on this date. For Greece and the Western Balkans, the increase is well over 20 times 2015’s total on this date.

Late Thursday IOM Athens reported two shipwrecks in the Aegean in which at least 15 people lost their lives. Kelly Namia of the IOM office said one boat carrying 55 migrants crashed into rocky area off the Farmakonisi islands. The Hellenic Coast Guard immediately launched search and rescue operations in which they recovered the remains of six children and one adult female. She said 48 migrants were rescued.

At the same time, another incident occurred off Kalolymnos Island, where the HCG rescued 26 migrants, while remains of eight migrants or refugees were discovered: three men, three women and two minors.

The number of those missing is not known, although there are estimations that 70-100 migrants were on board.

The 95 deaths recorded in the waters between Turkey and Greece bring to 900 the number of men, women and children who have died on the so-called Eastern Mediterranean route since the beginning of 2015.

On the Central Route linking North Africa to Sicily, IOM reports that 18 men and women have been reported missing or drowned in 2016 – bringing the total since January 2015 to 2,910.  

While deaths in the waters between Turkey and Greece have become almost a daily occurrence, there have been just two known shipwrecks between Libya and Italy so far this year.

On 11 January Italian authorities reported the deaths of nine Somalis off the coast of Santa Maria di Leuca, Puglia. One body was recovered, eight are still missing. Another nine migrants of unknown nationality were reported missing in the Channel of Sicily on 18 January.

Through the year’s first three weeks, just 950 migrants have been rescued in Central Mediterranean waters, a considerable drop off from 2015, when 3,528 migrants were rescued in the area. Additionally, some 280 migrants are due to arrive this Friday afternoon in Pozzallo.

By contrast, the Eastern Mediterranean route continues to be busy, with 35,949 arrivals recorded through Wednesday (20/1) or roughly 1,800 per day.  

Arrivals by Sea and Deaths in the Mediterranean 1 - 21 January 2016

 Country of Arrival





(Central Med. route)





 (Eastern Med. route)





(Western Med. and Western African routes)

Estimated Total



For the latest updates on migrant arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, which draws on a range of sources to track deaths of migrants along migratory routes worldwide, is managed by IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin, Germany.

You can learn more and support Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information please contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email:  iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Or IOM Geneva. Leonard Doyle, Tel: +41-792857123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int
or Joel Millman, Tel: +41-79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int

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