Global Migrant Deaths Pass 5,200

Humanitarian Emergencies, Migration Research, Missing Migrants

Switzerland - The number of migrant deaths and disappearances recorded by IOM in 2016 has reached 5,238.  This means that 951 or 20 percent more people have lost their lives while migrating compared with the same period in 2015.

Most of the increases have been in the Mediterranean, where an estimated 3,930 people have died or gone missing in 2016, while trying to reach Europe.In the past week alone, over 280 migrants have died or gone missing as they tried to reach Italy from Libya. This includes 97 migrants who died when their boat sank east of the Libya capital, Tripoli on Wednesday night (26/10). The Libyan Coast Guard rescued 29 migrants from the vessel, which is believed to have been carrying 126 people.

As several search and rescue operations are still on-going, the estimated 3,930 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean so far this year is a minimum and the total is likely to rise in the coming days as more details emerge.

This latest grim total means that nearly 13 people per day have died in 2016. The bodies of over 60 percent of those who died have not been recovered.

Elsewhere, there have been increases in migrant deaths in Latin America, where at least 500 people have died while migrating. At least 87 Hondurans (including 10 minors) were killed while migrating through Mexico between 1 January and 23 October, 2016.  The causes of death included dehydration, train and car accidents, suffocation, homicide and natural causes.

Significantly, the number of deaths recorded in Central America has increased by 92 percent from the same period in 2015.

Meanwhile, some 332,046 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. Some 169,524 people have arrived in Greece and 157,049 in Italy.

According to most up-to-date Italian Ministry of Interior figures (as of 26 October), the 157,049 migrants arrivals by sea to Italy this year show an increase of about 12 percent compared to the same period last year. Since 24 October, over 7,800 migrants have been rescued in the Channel of Sicily.

The total of 332,046 is well below the number of arrivals at this point in 2015, when some 728,926 migrants and refugees made the journey.

Total arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean 2015-2016

1 January – 26 October 2016 1 January – 31 October 2015
Country of Arrival Arrivals Deaths Arrivals Deaths
Italy 157,049

(Central Med. route)


(all Med routes)

Greece 169,524

(Eastern Med. route)

Cyprus 28 na

(as of 30 September)

(Western Med route)

Estimated Total 332,046 3,930 728,926 2,926

Data on deaths of migrants compiled by GMDAC
All numbers are minimum estimates
Arrivals based on data from respective governments and IOM field offices

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

Flash update on Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean and beyond:

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103-8720, Email:
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel +216 29 600389, Email:  or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216297 94707, Email:
Christine Beshay, IOM Egypt. Tel: + 20 2 273 651 40/1 Email:

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: