IOM Monitors Mediterranean Arrivals, Fatalities

Greece - IOM estimates that over 909,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea so far in 2015 – four times the 219,000 recorded in all of 2014.

Total fatalities with just over three weeks remaining in the year stand at 3,601 a slight increase over migrant deaths recorded on these routes during all of last year.  These fall far short of IOM’s worst-case scenarios, thanks to swift action by Europe’s governments and civil society to save lives in the Mediterranean.

But the 21,406 migrants and refugees who arrived in Greece by sea during the first week of December experienced a far more dangerous journey, with lower temperatures and rougher seas, than the 870,000 migrants and refugees who arrived through the end of November. 

From Italy, IOM staff report that more than 4,900 migrants have been rescued at sea in the Channel of Sicily in the last 4 days. Rescue operations were coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard and carried out by the Italian Navy, and by ships patrolling the area in the framework of the Triton and Eunavfor operations.

The migrants were brought to different ports in Southern Italy, including Lampedusa, Catania, Pozzallo (Sicily), Reggio Calabria (Calabria), Cagliari (Sardinia) and Taranto (Apulia). Their main nationalities were Eritrean, Nigerian, Syrian, Moroccan, Gambian and Senegalese.

IOM staff helped with rescue operations during most of the landings, providing legal counsel to migrants and, together with local authorities, contributing to the identification of vulnerable groups.

 Mediterranean Developments
Arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean: 1 January – 7 December 2015

Country of Arrival




147,740 (IOM est.)


(Central Med. route)






(Eastern Med. route)





(Western Med. and West African routes)

Estimated Total



In Sicily, IOM staffers met a young Gambian who opened up about his experience in Libya. “Libya is hell,” he said. “No human being should go through such an experience. I lost my brother on the 12th of November."

“We had been waiting for months to leave Libya. We worked every day in order to earn some money, but we were robbed every night. When we managed to pay for the crossing, we were brought to the beach. Sea conditions were good. But a group of soldiers, I don’t know who they were, attacked us. They opened fire on us. Many of us were killed, including my brother. I left him there, lying on the sand.”

Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, said: “There were 2,170 migrants who arrived in Italy by sea in November. But in December, normally a month when we see fewer arrivals, we have already registered – over just 4 days – over 4,900 migrants. We don’t have enough information right now to explain this sudden increase. But, according to testimonies gathered by our staff at landing points, it is clear that things in Libya are deteriorating and becoming more dangerous for migrants.”

For further information please contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email:  or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: Or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: